Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – March 13th – 19th 2023- Spring, Big Band Era, Stevie Wonder, A-Z Food, Short story, Podcast, Bloggers, Books Reviews, Digestion and Funnies

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

I hope you are all doing well and have enjoyed your week…

A red letter day this week. The sun came out yesterday afternoon, the wind dropped and I was able to sit out in the back garden for nearly an hour. It looks like I will be able to do the same this morning in the front garden. It is amazing how just sitting quietly with the sun on your face next to the bird feeder and bright yellow daffodils makes everything right with the world. Well your small part of it anyway.  I know just how these cows feel after being shut up for the winter months lol.

I was out and about during the week included in a lovely post by Jane Sturgeon along with Harmony Kent, Alex Craigie, D.G. Kaye and Lauren Scott. Jane shares her reviews for her books and celebrates twelve years of blogging. If you are looking for your next read, or your TBR is looking a little skinny!!! head over to check the reviews out.

Jane Sturgeon – Feel a Writer’s Love

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog…

William Price King joined me this week for the Big Band Era with Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb, Benny Goodman and The Lindy Hop . On Friday he began a new series on the music giant Stevie Wonder….You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ was here on Monday with a short story… and she also joined me in the funnies posts this week. Despite being on her winter break in Mexico she is still visiting posts and commenting, not just here but around the writing community. She will be back with us again the first week in April. Follow the link to Debby’s blog to browse her archives D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor was here on Wednesday with her A-Z of food and the letter ‘S’. On her own blog you can find Pavarotti, Mermaids on her Monday Musings, some dugongs and manatees, Riverdance and a bit about septic tanks…on Thursday Thoughts.. to catch up with all of Carol’s posts this week Carol Taylor’s Weekly Round Up – March 12th – 18th 2023

Thank you very much for your visits, comments and shares to social media, as always it is appreciated ♥

On with the show…

The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1930s – Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb, Benny Goodman, The Lindy Hop

William Price King Meets Music Legends – #Jazz #Soul #Stevie Wonder – The Early Years

Drop, Wet, H2O, Icicle, Clean, Cold, Winter, Icy, Storm

#Shortstory – When Hell Froze Over by D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘S’ for Satay, Salsa, Salmagundi, Sage, Squid and Salt Hoss

Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Kinship and The Close Match

The Body our Greatest Asset – The Digestive System Part Two – The Oesophagus and Stomach by Sally Cronin

Book Review – #Crimethrillers Shallow Waters, Made to be Broken, Fighting Monsters by Rebecca Bradley

Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Psychological #Thriller – Scam!: : An Electric Eclectic Book by Stevie Turner

Meet the Authors 2023 – #Familysagas Judith Barrow, #familyhistory S. Bavey, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

– #WWI – A Family At War by Geoff Le Pard

Patty Fletcher’s Grapevine Blog – Guest Post – Odd Encounter by author and proofreader Jo Elizabeth Pinto

#Mystery, #Magic and mayhem #BookReview FITZ AND THE FOOL #2 & #3 by Robin Hobb by Deborah Jay

Jemima Pett #reviews The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle

Hosts Sally Cronin and Debby Gies – Texting Seniors and even more one liners

Hosts Sally Cronin and Debby Gies – Retro Texting and even more one liners


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

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Book Review – #Crimethrillers Shallow Waters, Made to be Broken, Fighting Monsters by Rebecca Bradley

On my recent break, I decided to raid my TBR for a box set I have waiting in the wings. This set contains the first three books in the Hannah Robbins crime series by Rebecca Bradley. Extremely good value for three excellent books.

About Shallow Waters (Detective Hannah Robbins Crime Series Book 1)

When catching a killer isn’t enough…

The dumped body of a girl is found in an alleyway, forcing Detective Inspector Hannah Robbins into the darker side of Nottingham. The scene is brutal, demanding Hannah bring closure to the girl’s media-hungry mother.

When Hannah arrests the killer it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. This was not a single act of violence. There is a long shadow being cast and a larger problem. And someone wants to stop Hannah from finding out the truth.

All the while a member of her team is hiding a life-changing secret that could have serious repercussions for the investigation. But Hannah is too distracted by the case to pick up the cues.

Things take a disturbing turn when Hannah finds evidence that indicates a killer is only a hairs-breadth away from claiming his next victim.

Just how far is she willing to go to save the next girl?

About Made To Be Broken (Detective Hannah Robbins Crime Series Book 2)

A rising death toll. A city in panic.

When a previously healthy woman is found dead in her home, Detective Inspector Hannah Robbins finds herself set against a father driven by his anger and whose grief knows no bounds.

Six months after their last big case, Hannah is still haunted by the events of that night. As her team struggle, Hannah’s leadership skills are questioned.

With the body count climbing and the city of Nottingham in social meltdown, the team finds themselves in a deadly race against a serial killer determined to prove a point.

About Fighting Monsters (Detective Hannah Robbins Crime Series Book 3)

Where do you turn when you can’t trust the police?

Detective Inspector Hannah Robbins is called out to the murder of Simon Talbot. Local gang leader who only the day before was released from court a free man, found not guilty of the murder of police officer, Ken Blake.

Now, he has a bullet in his head.

And witness details on his person.

Hannah is up against the clock to find Talbot’s killer, and locate the bystander before it’s too late.

But as Hannah delves deeper into the past, she begins to question the integrity of the whole operation.

Could the killer be closer to home than anyone would like?

My review for the books March 18th 2023

These three books in the series establish not just interesting lead characters, plots that have plenty of twists and turns, but also a realism stemming from the author being a former police detective.

This is not a fantasy, and the reality of our world today is that there are monsters, vulnerable victims, damaged men and women who see violence a valid response to their agendas, and psychotic individuals who have no redeemable qualities.

It is no wonder that there is so much pressure on the police to solve crimes, particularly when heavily regulated to not just ensure justice is done, but that there are no loopholes in a case going to court. The paperwork alone adds a huge burden on a team trying to catch a killer, but to then make sure they are convicted. It is no wonder that the members of this team are under extreme pressure, not least having to witness the depravity of others.

The author pulls no punches when describing the crime scenes and also sharing the point of view of some of the victims caught up in unimaginable suffering. It is hard to read at times, but we cannot ignore that this is the reality for so many.  The detailed account of the process of solving all three cases in these first books is reassuring, and also highlights how traumatic it is for those on the front line. It is not surprising that the characters portrayed are not perfect and in many cases their stress results in complex relationship issues and breakdowns.

One one side are the perpetrators and victims, and on the other ambitious and demanding senior officers who want answers and results to keep even more senior ranks off their backs. The team in the middle is between a rock and a hard place. Then there is the media, who have only one agenda, making news and placing blame wherever it will result in the most outrage.

I was highly impressed at the attention to detail, the character development and the well paced storyline, leading to some unexpected climaxes. 

If you love an authentic, realistic and well written thrillers, then you well love this series. I can highly recommend and will be reading the rest of the books over the coming months. I can certainly recommend this box set which is a terrific introduction to the characters and the author at an excellent price.

Read the reviews and buy the box set or individually:  Amazon UK – and:  Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Rebecca Bradley

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK And: Amazon US – More Reviews: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Rebecca Bradley Crime – Twitter: @RebeccaJBradley

About Rebecca Bradley

Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective. She lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.

She writes the DI Hannah Robbins police procedural series, the DI Claudia Nunn series and has also released two standalone novels, Dead Blind, about a cop who acquires prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness and Perfect Murder about a crime writer who wonders if she could commit the perfect murder so sets out to see.


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


Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Meet the Authors 2023 – #Familysagas Judith Barrow, #familyhistory S. Bavey, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

Welcome to the 2023 series of meet the authors. This series offers me the opportunity to not just share my personal recommendation for the author, but to also check for new books I might have missed, changes to biographies and profile photos and check links.

I also I hope will introduce you to previously unknown authors to you and their books. As the curator of a towering TBR like most of you, I hope it will also encourage you to move books waiting in line up the queue.

The first author today writes fabulous family sagas and I have enjoyed every book I have read by Judith Barrow.

Meet Judith Barrow

Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, a group of villages on the edge of the Pennines,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for over forty years.

She has an MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University. She is a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council and holds private one to one workshops on all genres.

Books by Judith Barrow

My review for Sisters

This is another exceptional book by Judith Barrow which will delight the fans of her storytelling.

One of the strongest and most enduring relationships is between siblings. This is particularly the case when one brother or sister is older and more experienced, and takes a younger sibling under their wing to guide and protect them.

Two sisters, Mandy and Angie have that kind of relationship. Until one day, a tragedy forces them apart and causes a split in their family that lasts many years.

The author has created compelling characters who exhibit the strengths and frailties of human nature as well as the dark side to love. As a reader it is easy to identify with both sisters as they follow a different path in life and to empathise with the choices they make, even if at times it is distressing.

The evil that becomes central to their family’s survival offers some heart stopping moments. The two sisters have to find a way back to each other to rebuild their lives and their relationship, however dangerous that might be.

This is a book I have no hesitation in recommending to lovers of family sagas and cleverly written thrillers. It is hard to put down once started, and keeps the reader engaged to the last page.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Judith: Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

Meet S. Bavey

Sue Bavey (writing as S. Bavey) is an English Mum of two, living in Massachusetts since 2003 with her husband, kids, a cat named Midnight, a bunny named Nutmeg, a leopard gecko named Ziggy Stardust and occasional frogs and salamanders.

“Lucky Jack is my grandfather, Henry John Rogers’ biography. Grandad lived with us when I was born, until we moved when I was six years old. Then he came back to live with us in my teenage years and we were very close. He was my father’s father, but my Mum diligently collected the newspaper columns he dictated to a local reporter, and kept them in scrapbooks in her attic, where they gathered dust and yellowed over time. A few years ago I found all the scrapbooks and wanted to get all of those stories into a book for my kids to read. That was the germ of an idea which – thanks to my having time during Covid lockdown – has now resulted in the life story of my grandfather, Jack Rogers being written.

My second book, Daydreams and Narcoleptic Nightmares is a collection of my late father’s memoirs and poetry. I collected these and chose the ones I wanted to present and in which order. Then I transcribed them, which was quite a task as my father wrote in pen or pencil on loose sheets of paper without any page numbers. He also had difficult to read handwriting so I hope my interpretations were correct!

The other books on my profile are anthologies which contain short stories written by me (and many other writers) and memoirs from my own life, including experiences moving from England to USA and other travel stories.

Books by S. Bavey

My review for Daydreams & Narcoleptic Nightmares

This is a brilliant collection of stories and poems by John Cornelius Rogers, compiled and edited by his daughter Sue Bavey.

I felt I was sitting beside John as he shared stories from his childhood growing up in Sussex and then Lincoln in the 1920s. His memories are vivid and I laughed out loud at so many wry observations and would loved to have been around at the time, including when the family’s first car arrived.

The war brought enlistment in the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve where John was introduced to navigation, armaments, engineering and morse code before proceeding to flight training school. After war there was a posting to one of the worst hit cities Hamburg for a year which made for sombre reading, and left him with a feeling of sickening sadness at the devastation and loss of life.

John then went on to train as a teacher and taught in a school where classes had 49 non-reading 8 year olds undisciplined after the war years and determined not to be educated. A traumatic experience for all concerned.

In contrast, having been billeted in Scarborough during training, it was followed up by an eventful holiday in Scarborough with his wife and young daughter which came with some colourful nightlife! This story and many others were filled with such wonderful humour and it is hard to pick one out to highlight, but “Alfred – Not So Great” is brilliant.

We are also introduced to the two conditions that resulted in challenges in everyday life Narcolepsy and Cataplexy and it is inspiring that despite those challenges John still maintained his wonderful sense of humour and love of life.

Poetry is included between the stories but part two of the collection is dedicated to this form with observations on life and more humour including “An Unusual Talent”

If you mix with the poor, or the privileged elite
whether you travel the world or stay in your street,
The most unlikely attribute you ever will meet
is the gift of Les Blain and his musical feet.

I highly recommend this wonderful collection of poignant and entertaining reflections on a life well lived and on the social history of the 20th century.

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

Meet 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.

A selection of books by C.S. Boyack

My review for Good Liniment

Another colourful and creative fantasy adventure with Lizzie and The Hat working together to seek out monsters and help others within the supernatural world to remain secret and safe.

The band is back together after a brief hiatus as Lizzie comes to terms with previous events that have shaken her confidence in the path chosen for her. Into that path come new characters to add to the fantastical ensemble always present in these stories.

We neet the rather world weary witch Cyrus and his apprentice Dash, the wonderfully playful Noodles and ethereal but feisty Destiny. The local coven is full of visually disturbing but colourful members who the author describes in quite nightmarish detail in some cases…Humour however is never far away and even the most outlandish become endearing.

We are treated to the art of trog hunting, not for the faint hearted, an introduction to the precious elements needed to create the spells and magical potions to enhance and heal, and a glimpse into the secrets of witchcraft.

The coven and Lizzie have lost a dear friend who it appears is victim of a killing spree with witches the target. This monster is the first human that Lizzie and The Hat have hunted and it brings an additional element of danger that could be fatal.

As always the author has created a fantasy that flows and engages with wonderful characters, plot and humour that I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Craig: Goodreads – blog:Cold Hand BoyackTwitter: @Virgilante


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

Smorgasbord Posts from my Archives – Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Psychological #Thriller – Scam!: : An Electric Eclectic Book by Stevie Turner

During this series I will be sharing my reviews for books I posted during 2022

Good books deserve to be showcased on a regular basis and I hope that it might entice you to either move the books up your groaning TBR’s or add the books to its burden!

Here is my review from March 2022 for Stevie Turner, and her psychological thriller – Scam: An Electric Eclectic Book

About the book

Winner of the 2021 Electric Eclectic Novella Prize

Lauren West and Ben Hughes are saving frantically for their forthcoming marriage and mortgage deposit. When Lauren sees an advert online from a firm of brokers extolling the profits to be gained by buying and selling Bitcoins, she is interested enough to pursue it further.

Lauren clicks on the advert. She is soon contacted by Paul Cash, a knowledgeable stockbroker whom Lauren trusts straight away. He is affable, plausible, and seemingly genuinely interested in her welfare. Lauren looks forward to making enough money to be able to surprise Ben and bring the date of their wedding forward, and also to put a deposit down on their ideal house.

What could possibly go wrong?

My review for the book March 9th 2022

This is an intriguing read and apart from a great story concept and interesting characters, it also carries a very important message.

There are many temptations available online, and so easy to be taken in by the glib and bequiling charms of those who wish to part you from anything they can. Money of course but also confidence, dignity and very often the respect of loved ones. 

Enticement becomes menace very quickly when they have their claws into you, and once you have let them into your lives and offered up your information, it is not only you who may suffer the consequences.

This is the case for Lauren who looks for a shortcut to moving into her own home with her husband Ben, who is determined to work hard and take the time necessary to build up their savings towards their deposit.

Bad enough to become a victim of a scam, but when the criminals are on the doorstep there may be more repercussions than from some remote hacker thousands of miles away.

This is a game of cat and mouse and it impacts not just the safety of those close to Lauren but her marriage, job and future.

A thriller that will keep you turning the pages and a stark reminder that the old saying ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’

Recommended read for anyone who shares their life online.

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

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Stevie : Goodreads blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress – Twitter: @StevieTurner6

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner is a British author of romantic suspense, humour, paranormal stories, and women’s fiction family dramas. She is a cancer survivor, and still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and husband Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. Those two boys have now grown, and she and Sam have 5 lovely grandchildren.

One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). Her screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and her novel ‘A House Without Windows’ gained interest in 2017 from De Coder Media, an independent film production company based in New York. ‘Finding David’ reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. Stevie’s latest book, ‘His Ladyship,’ reached the finals and Longlist of the 2021 Page Turner Writing Award.

To quote reader Roberta Baden-Powell, ‘I’m looking forward to reading your new book, and find your books the best so far. The style you write in has given me a new perspective and a renewed inspiration in reading once again.’

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


Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Review – #YA #Dystopian The Insurgent (The Colony Series Book 2) by Teri Polen

Delighted to share my review for the dystopian thriller by Teri Polen, The Insurgent (The Colony Series Book 2)

About the book

If a megalomaniac threatened your family, would you give up your freedom for them? Would you give up your soul?

Asher Solomon is faced with that choice. And makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Exactly as Director Silas Reeves expected him to.

Unable to live as the Colony’s premier assassin, Ash retreats to a corner of his mind, ceding control of his body to the alter-ego he was engineered to be—Subject A36. As he’s unleashed to battle the Insurgents, the only family he ever knew, the tide of war shifts in Silas’s favor.

Combined with his expansion into new territories, the director is poised to take over the world.

But the Insurgents don’t give up easily. Not on their cause, and not on their people. With the help of a few double agents deep in the Colony, they stand a fighting chance at ending Silas’s reign.

In order to shut down the program, they face almost insurmountable odds. And their most dangerous foe—their former champion turned killing machine, A36.

My review for the book March 11th 2023

The Insurgent is a nail-biting thriller that brilliantly continues the story of A36 and the characters on both sides of the conflict in this dsystopian and terrifying world.

I really enjoyed the first book A36, but this second book can stand alone as the author does a great job of catching the reader up on past events and characters. The main cast members are all young but have had to mature early as they suffered life changing and threatening events orchestrated by the megalomaniac in charge of The Colony.

Ripped from their families and losing siblings to the ever increasing demand for genetic enhancements, they have chosen to fight although not all are on the same side. Those who have received enhancements, such as Asher have an internal struggle to maintain their humanity and to resist the evil they have been programmed to rain down on the innocent.

At the heart of this story is love. For family, between two young warriors and for freedom. We get to know some of the earlier characters in more depth which adds to the story and there are plenty of surprise revelations as the story reaches its climax. Other characters from the first book take centre stage and share their point of view on the unfolding drama, as as allegiances begin to shift in response to the increasingly intensive devastation of neighbouring countries and their populations. The action packed interactions between the colony forces and the insurgents have you turning the pages to find out if good will triumph over evil and whether the characters you have become attached to will survive.

This is a YA series but I have no hesitation in recommending both books to lovers of well written and fast paced thrillers.

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

Also by Teri Polen

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – AndAmazon UK Follow Teri: Goodreads – website: Teri PolenTwitter: @Tpolen6

About Teri Polen

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium. She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat. Sarah, her debut novel, was named a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.


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


Smorgasbord Posts from my Archives – Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Military #Romance – Jagged Feathers (The White Rune Series Book 2) by Jan Sikes

During this series I will be sharing my reviews for books I posted during 2022

 Good books deserve to be showcased on a regular basis and I hope that it might entice you to either move the books up your groaning TBR’s or add the books to its burden!

Delighted to share my review from March 2022 for Jagged Feathers (The White Rune Series Book 2) by Jan Sikes

About the book

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.
Will these two not only survive but find unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

My review for the book March 3rd 2022

Having read book one of this series I was looking forward to this next story with much anticipation. I was delighted to catch up with some of the characters from Ghostly Interference and the author made the transition seamless.

Both Vann and Nankina who head the cast in this second book, carry the burden of past events in their lives and the story highlights the many challenges facing those who have served and also civilians who have been touched by tragedy.

The setting is tanquil, but danger and violence intrude into this peaceful backwater. The last thing a recovering soldier with PTSD needs is to be back in a war zone, but his need to protect a defenceless woman becomes a mission he cannot back down from.

This is a high octane thriller and romance, with some intriguing paranormal elements which draws the reader in, and sweeps them along with the action and developing love affair. And then there is also an adorable dog who despite his own past mistreatment gives love in abundance.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and recommend to those who enjoy action packed romances.

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

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

About Jan Sikes

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I can still remember the excitement that surged through me the first time I realized I could decipher words. There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story.

Oddly enough, I never had any ambition to be a writer. But I wound up in mid-life with a story that begged to be told. Not just any story, but a true story that rivaled any fiction creation. Through fictitious characters, the tale came to life in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. Not satisfied to stop with the books, I released music CDs of original music to match the time period of each story segment. In conclusion, to bring the story full circle, I published a book of poetry and art. I was done.


The story ideas keep coming, and I don’t intend to turn off the creative fountain.

I love all things metaphysical and often include those aspects in my stories.

I am a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Story Empire, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.


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


Smorgasbord Posts from my Archives – Previous Reviews from 2022 – #Suspense #Thriller Cold Dark Night: Legends of Madeira by Joan Hall

During this series I will be sharing my reviews for books I posted during 2022 

Good books deserve to be showcased on a regular basis and I hope that it might entice you to either move the books up your groaning TBR’s or add the books to its burden!

Delighted to share my review from February 2022 for the suspense thriller by Joan Hall – Cold Dark Night: Legends of Madeira

About the book

New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.

But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s one-hundred fiftieth year, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, Jason will be the next to die.

My review for the book February 26th 2022

I really enjoyed House of Sorrows, the prequel to this series which really set the scene for this book and left me anticipating the follow up to an intriguing mystery.

It can be very challenging to settle in a new home, in a town steeped in history with families who go back generations. Outsiders are not always welcome, especially if they start digging around in events that some would prefer left well alone.

It doesn’t help when your husband is the chief of police, a position that appears to have been more dangerous than a small town with low crime rates might expect. Or that you live in a house with some ominous links to chilling events of the last 100 years.

Thankfully there is a welcome from well-meaning neighbours and a cat seeking companionship, although it is clear that some are also carrying heavy burdens from the past.

The author has created wonderful characters and a gripping storyline that will draw you in as you engage with the lead characters in the drama.

The story time shifts through the decades, offering nuggets of information that might or might not lead to solving the mysterious death of so many law enforcement officers. Tami has a need to discover the truth as her fears for her husband in his new role become more insistent with each passing day.

It is a race against time and Tami and those she trusts find themselves hurtling towards a precipice with surprise discoveries and secrets revealed that will shock the small town to its core.

A recommended read

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

Also by Joan Hall

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

About Joan Hall

Joan Hall has always enjoyed reading or listening to stories about inexplicable events, so it’s not surprising she writes mystery and romantic suspense. A lover of classic rock music, songs often serve as the inspiration for her books.

When she’s not writing, Joan likes to observe the night skies, explore old cemeteries, and learn about legends and folklore. She and her husband live in Texas with their two cats.


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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Febuary 27th – March 5th 2023 – New Features, Quincy Jones, Big Band Era, Epistolary Writing, Rhubarb, Reviews, Health, Podcast and Funnies

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

I hope that all has gone well for you during the week. It has been busy getting back into the swing of things since we got back and getting ready to get more pre-sale work done on the house.

This week I was honoured to be included in a post by Pete Springer along with John Howell, Marcia Meara, Marian Beaman and new author, David Mohrmann.

Peter explores the celebration of achievement but also the fact that you are never too old to begin your writing journey. He also highlights the envy that might tinge our lives from time to time as others around us seem to step ahead of us for one reason or another, but often it can be inspiring

Head over to read Pete’s post and share your thoughts: Pete Springer and Writers Envy

Coming up on the blog soon.

In the next few weeks I shall be starting the 2023 series of meet the authors. This series offers me the opportunity to not just share my personal recommendation for the author, but to also check for new books I might have missed, changes to biographies and profile photos and check links.

I also I hope will introduce you to previously unknown authors to you and their books. As the curator of a towering TBR like most of you, I hope it will also encourage you to move books waiting in line up the queue.

Just a reminder to all authors who have not updated their bios recently it is a good idea to double check they are up to date across Amazon and Goodreads and anywhere else you promote your books.

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog…

William Price King joined me this week for the Big Band Era with Benny Goodman, Hal Kemp and The Grizzly Bear…Also the next post on the life and music during the 1980s of the incredible Quincy Jones You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ was here on Monday with a repeat post from her archives on the subject of Epistolary Writing and joined me in the funnies posts. Despite being on her winter break in Mexico she is still visiting posts and commenting, not just here but around the writing community. Follow the link to Debby’s blog to browse her archives D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor was here on Wednesday with her A-Z of food and the letter ‘R’. On her own blog you can find her Monday Musings 27th February 2023…Natural Antibiotic ,Olive leaf Extract, Music from Lee Mead plus how to Reduce your Carbon Footprint at home…and Thursday Thoughts which include Rod Stewart and Red Burger Buns?…Rabbit Holes, Fitness Update and Artificial Intelligence…Head over to read all of Carol’s posts from the week CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…26th February to 4th March 2023

Thank you very much for your visits, comments and shares to social media, as always it is appreciated ♥

On with the show…..

The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1930s – Benny Goodman, Hal Kemp and The Grizzly Bear

William Price King Meets Music Legends – #Musician #Producer #Humanitarian Quincy Jones Part Four – 1980s

Pen, Handwriting, Writing, Letter, Paper, Note, Ink

#Epistolary #Writing by DG Kaye

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘R’ for Rice, Ras el Hanout, Rhubarb, Ricotta Cheese and Rice Noodles

Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Escaping the Famine, Drought, Bear Witness by Sally Cronin

The Body our Greatest Asset – The Heart – The Stress Factor by Sally Cronin

New Book on the Shelves – #Poetry – Our Wolves by Luanne Castle

#RescueDogs – Kat the Dog: The remarkable tale of a rescued Spanish water dog by Alyson Sheldrake

Book Reviews February Round Up – #Memoir Deena Goldstein, #Thriller #Supernatural John W. Howell, #Thriller #Fantasy Dan Antion, #Shortstories Beem Weeks, #Memoir Cheryl Oreglia #Sisters #Romance Jacquie Biggar.

White Water Landings: A view of the Imperial Airways Africa service from the ground by [J M Pett, Geoffrey Pett]

Previous Reviews from 2022 – #History #Africa #Flyingboats – White Water Landings by Jemima Pett

Blog Diary – Week Twenty-Nine: 2022 #Quilts, #Gardens #Brunch by Geoff Le Pard

#Writers – Another #scam to waste authors’ precious time by Deborah Jay

Life and Loss – The Little Things – Car Service Time Without My Car Man by D.G. Kaye

Host Malcolm Allen – February 2023 – #Dogs #Horses #Funnies A Man and His Dog and an Overachiever

Hosts Sally Cronin and Debby Gies – Proofreading and Cold Water Washing


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

Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Review – #Dogs #RescueDogs – Kat the Dog: The remarkable tale of a rescued Spanish water dog by Alyson Sheldrake

Today my review for the heart warming story of a little dog whose life might have turned out very differently if not for the kindness of a stranger. Kat the Dog: The remarkable tale of a rescued Spanish water dog by Alyson Sheldrake

About the book

A captivating and emotional story of survival and second chances.

Escaping from a wretched existence on a rundown farm, a young Spanish water dog goes on the quest of a lifetime, in search of a family to love her and a place to call home.

Follow Kat the Dog as she tells her heart-warming and uplifting story. The little dog with a big heart who journeyed through fear and starvation to find her forever home.

Black Beauty for dog lovers.” Lisa Rose Wright, author of the Writing Home series of travelogue memoirs.

“The most uplifting animal memoir since A Street Cat Named Bob.” Liza Grantham, author of the Mad Cow in Galicia memoir series.

My review for the book March 4th 2023

This book will shock, sadden but inspire as the story of this beautiful dog Kat unfolds over a period of several years.

As an animal lover it is always difficult to be witness to cruelty, and in the first part of the book, as the author gifts Kat her own voice to tell her story, it is challenging to read. However I took heart knowing that this book is about a rescue dog and that life would change for this amazing girl.

After such an appalling start in life it took some time for Kat to settle in with her adopted family, but their patience and kindness opened up her world to adventures on the coast and in the countryside of Portugal. There are some wonderful encounters with chickens, rabbits ice cream and goats, and some not so great interactions with cats and ticks. With owners who adored her unconditionally, Kat was also able to explore being the puppy she was never allowed to be.

Those who own dogs will appreciate the accuracy of the observations and non-verbal communications between Kat and her owner as their bond develops, and at times you will forget it is a dog doing the narration. There are some laugh out loud moments as you recognise the manipulative power of a dog’s eyes and the antics they employ to get that all important treat.

I can highly recommend for all pet lovers and to those who enjoy reading inspiring real life stories.

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

Also by Alyson Sheldrake

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alyson: GoodreadsWebsite: Alyson Sheldrake – Twitter: @alysonSheldrakeFacebook: Alyson Sheldrake

About Alyson Sheldrake

Alyson Sheldrake was born in Birmingham in 1968. She has always loved art and painting, although she found little time for such pleasures, working full-time after graduation. She joined the Devon and Cornwall Police in 1992 and served for thirteen years, before leaving to work in the field of education. She became the Director of Education for the Church of England in Devon in 2008.

Once her husband Dave retired from the Police, their long-held dream of living in the sun could become a reality. Alyson handed in her notice, and with her dusty easel and set of acrylic paints packed and ready to move, they started their new adventure living in the beautiful Algarve in Portugal in 2011.

She is now an accomplished and sought-after artist working alongside her husband, Dave, a professional photographer. Being able to bring their much-loved hobbies and interests to life has been a wonderful bonus to their new life in the Algarve.

Alyson is the editor of Portugal Letter magazine, and a feature writer for the Algarve’s Tomorrow magazine. She is the author of the award-winning and popular Algarve Blog, and is also a keynote speaker at the annual ‘Live and Invest in Portugal’ international conference.

She is the author of Kat the Dog – The remarkable tale of a rescued Spanish water dog, and the Algarve Dream series of travel memoirs. Alyson was also the author/curator of the Travel Stories series of anthologies.

She lives in the Algarve, Portugal with her husband, Dave, a professional photographer, and Kat the Dog.


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

Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Reviews February Round Up – #Memoir Deena Goldstein, #Thriller #Supernatural John W. Howell, #Thriller #Fantasy Dan Antion, #Shortstories Beem Weeks, #Memoir Cheryl Oreglia #Sisters #Romance Jacquie Biggar,

Welcome to my round up of books I have reviewed in February. All terrific reads and they come highly recommended.

The first recommended read is the memoir Ok, Little Bird by Deena Goldstein. A celebration of her relationship with her father.

My review for the book February 4th 2023

This is a loving tribute to a father who throughout his life created strict rules to live by, not just for himself but his growing family. The youngest of three children, Deena was the apple of his eye and got away with a great deal more than her older brother and sister, much to their disgust on occasion, although it is clear they too were dearly loved. Even as a young baby, Deena was fearless and could change his mood in seconds with a direct and amusing way that charmed him into laughter.

Horses and all things western were her father’s go to environment and this included dressing the part and spending any free time at the stables with a succession of much loved companions. He invited Deena into this world much to her joy, and this was a pattern that was repeated over the rest of his life in his business and at home.

After a series of life-challenging diseases, the close family relationship becomes fragmented as ‘Marc’ moves into a group home and Covid restrictions result in lack of physical contact. However, the author finds some ingenious ways to keep her father upbeat even if it is through a pane of glass.

We are given an invitation to enjoy this relationship between a daughter and her father through the years and whilst it is clear ‘Marc’ has a somewhat rigid approach to life and family, beneath the gruff exterior is a warm, funny and loving individual.

The author has a wonderful easy writing style and shares the anecdotes from her father’s life with charm and honesty which showcases her father’s rather quirky approach to life beautifully.

There are some laugh out loud moments and some that bring back memories of the grief felt at the passing of a parent that require a tissue alert. It is heartwarming and a perfect tribute to a long and rich life. Recommended especially to those who miss that bond they shared with their own father.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAmazon UK

The next book I enjoyed was the latest release by John W. Howell the sequel to the excellent Eternal Road... another supernatural adventure…The Last Drive

My review for the book February 6th 2023

Having read Eternal Road I was eagerly anticipating the sequel The Last Drive and loved it.

You do need to buckle up for this road trip, not just of a lifetime, but several lifetimes, as Sam and James reunite for a mission to save the missing soul of military pilot Ryan, lost in time, along with his idol flying legend Eddie Rickenbacker.  Time is of the essence, as the malicious involvement of the devil is believed to be behind their status, and that can never be a good thing.

The characters of Sam and James were well established in the first book and it was easy to pick up their close relationship. The author does a great job in bringing the two missing souls and the evil, crude and manipulative devil together, for an adventure that spans hundreds of years from Ancient Rome to present day.

The places and times where they find themselves, were not known for peace and harmony, and often portrayed mankind at its worst, but also in some cases at their best. They are times in history that most of us are familiar with, but we are taken backstage to the events, to focus on the people involved, often as they too, like the heroes, face their final journey.

The theme of good versus evil runs through the story with imagined intereactions between those fighting on either side. The reader is invited in to spectate, and also consider, how closely these two divisions are aligned, and are often present together during the most pivotal moments in our history. It makes for fascinating reading.

It is a fast faced thriller with excellent characters, including the Prince of Darkness, who is dispicable as he should be. There are some scenes where you might be tempted to look away from, as they underline the evil men do, however the author handles these situations very well. Also his wry humour threads its way through the story, lifting the darker side of the narrative and adding a wonderful element to the reading enjoyment.

I can recommend this book to fans of John W. Howell. and those who enjoy an excellent thriller with compelling characters.

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

Here is my five star review for Dan Antion and The Evil You Choose: Dreamer’s Alliance – Book 2

My review for the book February 11th 2023

The first book Knuckleheads was a great introduction to the characters and also to the powers that Zach and Billy developed over their childhood and teen years.

Now at retirement age and having managed to stay beneath the radar of those who would love to exploit their special abilities, Zach has come to the attention of an ambitious and self-seeking FBI agent and his boss who seems to have his own agenda.

Another player in this game is a powerful underworld boss whose activities are now under scrutiny. Zach’s family and his have had close ties for at least two generations and had reached an understanding that Zach feels honour bound to respect.

This is a fast paced and cleverly written thriller with the added element of the supernatural, which at the same time is almost plausible. We all dream and sometimes those dreams feel very real and even frightening. It makes you wonder if there are people out there with gifts they too wish to keep under wraps, and based on this story, for very good reason.

Keeping track of the various parties and their complex legal and illegal activities, requires not just Zach’s observational skills but Billie’s sixth sense and technical support. Thankfully the author keeps the reader up to date as the plot thickens and then reaches a nail-biting climax.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and the flow of the story. It is refreshing to have more mature characters who have an opportunity to put years of experience to good use and are still portrayed as relevant.

I can highly recommend to anyone who enjoys action packed thrillers with plenty of twists and turns.

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

Next my review for the intriguing collection of stories Strange Hwy by Beem Weeks...

Strange Hwy: Short Stories by [Beem Weeks]

My review for the collection February 18th 2023

This is an eclectic collection of stories set mainly in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly focused on the formative years of childhood and early teens. A time of discovery, identification of differences between individuals, the reality of family and a growing relationship with love and loss.

The author has a great understanding of those years, and creates characters and storylines around issues that impact us all, but which have an added overwhelming intensity when we are young. These include suicide, dementia, drug addiction, illiteracy, autism, cancer, fractured families and mental illness.

This is not a depressing collection by any means, and there are some lovely twists to the stories and better outcomes than expected. Such as memories of a welding torch that created a wonderful being in the family, a very young musical genius, a flood that changed the dynamics between a boy and a grumpy old man, and how three quarters bought the joy of music and a protector from a father’s abuse.

There are stories of sacrifice for love, including a brother’s determination to save his sister’s life, and an ethereal young girl called Lucy who promised it would all be alright in the end.

Life and relationships are complicated and our experiences in childhood and our teen years can change the course of our lives for better or worse. Some of these stories will strike a nostalgic note with readers, others will make you grateful that you enjoyed a safe and nurturing childhood untouched by harsh realities and tragedy.

I don’t have any favourites amongst the stories as I enjoyed them all and can highly recommend the collection in its entirety.

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

Another book that I can highly recommend is the debut memoir of Cheryl Oreglia which is a wonderful reflection on life…

My review for the book February 25th 2023

There is a line towards the end of this beautifully written and fascinating reflection on life that mirrored many of my own thoughts.

“Authenticity is everything! You have to wake up every day and look in the mirror, and you want to be proud of the person who’s looking back at you. And you can only do that if you’re honest with yourself, compassionate, and focused.”

Cheryl Oreglia applies that authenticity as she explores her life with its love, loss and glorious moments with focus, honesty, wry humour and compassionate grace. Completely relatable for those of us who are also celebrating several decades of living and loving, but a must read for the younger generation. The chapters provide a hope filled guide to what is to come, which is an invaluable resource.

It is easy to become engaged in the life of the author and her extended family. Life during the pandemic becomes a tad chaotic as family, including toddlers move in for the duration. Finding peaceful moments to write become precious, but there is so much to be enjoyed as grown children and grandchildren infiltrate every corner of the house and the day.

The tandem bike riding adventures are hilarious and I was there in spirit even if I was unable to assist with the pedalling uphill, but how I welcomed the downhill freewheeling at the end of the effort.

Into every life there comes a time when control is no longer in our hands and we must accept the loss of those we love. The memories we have made together keep them in our hearts forever. It helps if you have a special place to go with these memories, and we are invited to the family’s lake house often during the book, to sit in the early mornings on the porch where we can enjoy the serenity to reflect and find peace.

I loved reading this collection of essays and I have many favourite moments, but perhaps the most thought provoking, is where the author explores what it is we as humans really want from life, but are perhaps afraid to ask for.

She shares her list of what she really wants. Including moments she would like to revisit, people she would love to have had more time with, fireworks, birdfeeders, movies, lack of clutter, chocolate, a literary agent and healthy wit.

I firmly believe Cheryl Oreglia has that one nailed already.

Beautifully written with a flowing and engaging tempo, I have no hesitation in highly recommending this wonderful collection of essays on life. I will be dipping into it many times to treasure the wisdom and humour.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

And my last recommended book for February is for – Letting Go: The Defiant Sisters- Book1 (The Defiant Sisters Duet) by Jacquie Biggar.

My review for the book February 25th 2023

I do enjoy Jacquie Biggar’s romances as she creates great characters working through the complexities of love and passion with skill.

In this story, the relationship between sisters, its closeness, expectations and miscommunications has resulted in Renee leaving home abruptly following a tragedy. It has also resulted in Izzy blaming her for much of what followed within the family including their mother’s death. Stuck in the middle is their younger brother Ben who is unable to cope with the loss and badly in need of both his sisters to be there for him.

It is not just the sisters who have a relationship to repair as Renee has to find a way to resolve issues with the love of her life who she feels betrayed her but still pulls her in with an undeniable passion. Izzy does not trust her judgement and pushes away the one person who is the most reliable in her life.

There is plenty of issues that need to be dealt with including a life or death accident that forces the family and those around them to reassess their priorities. There are some resolutions but the door has been left open for more reveals and answers to the past in the next book in the series which I am looking forward to.

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


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