Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Anthology – This is Lockdown – Covid 19 Diaries – Flash Fiction – Poetry M.J. Mallon and Other Authors

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

This is my review from July 2020 for the anthology compiled by  Marjorie Mallon that shares her own diary of events over that period about the pandemic and life as a family in lock down.. and the thoughts and poetry of others within the blogging community including myself. I also featured some of the authors and poets who have participated.

Who would have thought that almost a year on many of us are still restricted in our movements and waiting for vaccines to help prevent another wave of the virus.

About the collection

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

The full list of authors are:

Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Humorous Dark Comedy,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction,) Fi Phillips , (Copy writer, Author,) Jeannie Wycherley, (dark stories, suspense, horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (urban fiction, teen/YA,)Tracie Barton Barrett, (Speaker/author,) Peter Taylor Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit romance, poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Reader, Blogger, Post Doctoral Researcher and Academic,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (huge supporter of indie community/blogger/author) Debby Gies (D G Kaye), (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, horror, urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (blogger, poet and writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (blogger, African storyteller.).Frank Prem (Poet, Author) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS .

My review for the collection July 18th 2020

This is an anthology of three parts; the diary that Marjorie Mallon kept to mark the progress of not just the pandemic, as it began increase its grip on society and services, but the effects of isolation on her family.

The second part shares the thoughts and poetry of other members of our blogging community with contributions from around the world including the UK,  Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, USA and Zimbabwe, providing a wide ranging of perspectives on how our lives have been impacted around the globe.

Lastly, we are treated to some flash fiction from Marjorie that leaves us with much to think about as we move forward with our lives and back into society. How has it changed us?

The diary entries were illuminating as they highlighted the challenges a family faces, when teenagers who are accustomed to independence, find themselves back with parents in the same space 24 hours a day. There are some lovely moments of shared activities such as a DIY Nail Bar, and exercise each day in the garden, but clearly like all of us, there were moments when solitude was needed. Then there is the worry for elderly parents too far away to support, who are going through health emergencies and also household dilemmas.  That sense of powerlessness at not being able to rush to their side, must have been mirrored across the world. It was heartwarming to be privy to this personal recollection, and I am sure that as a family they will remember this time positively.

The contributions for other authors were also though provoking, such as a father with three daughters on the front line in the NHS, a mother with four children between 5 and 17 who now required home schooling, and a teacher working a shift system to prepare for the safe return of students, whilst caring for a family and concerned for elderly parents.

Interestingly the common thread running through the stories was the sudden dampening of the creative spark so necessary for writers. The struggle to continue with books in progress, even to write a blog post. Tough to finding that focus with the compulsion to absorb all the news headlines, adhere to the ever changing restrictions, with the worry that the new normal would not be normal at all. However, there clearly was a great deal of emotional impetus to write something about this global experience, resulting in some excellent flash fiction and poetry.

Other writers share their thoughts on minimising the impact of news and social media and what we might expect in the coming months for both individuals and certain vulnerable groups in society. Others highlighted how nature had filled the vacuum left by the humans, clearing waters and skies above us. Demonstrating our human impact on the natural order of things. And all felt the lack of human interaction very hard to cope with, at a time when that sense of community was so badly needed.

There are stories of businesses that collapsed in the matter of weeks only to be revived with new opportunities presented by technology. There is plenty of inspiration that leaves you feeling uplifted, including the final contribution from Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val. These two amazing women began making face masks at their kitchen table and within weeks they found themselves inundated with orders. As more joined the sewing circle now named #CommunityMasks4NHS the project grew with the help of some business sponsors to an incredible 6,500 masks with orders from around the world raising £27,700 by the publication of this anthology.

The collection finishes with some flash fiction from Marjorie Mallon highlighting the potential perils of shopping, isolating at home, being on the frontline of the NHS and how it might seem to a child…the danger of domestic abuse and choices some might make for a different future…. and a little ode to Van Gogh.

I recommend the collection, as I think it demonstrates how very much aligned we are as people when a catastrophe on this scale threatens our way of life. It is comforting to know that we are not alone with our fears, lack of creativity and the restrictions of isolation. It is also inspiring to discover how inventive and determined people are to thrive and learn from the experience.

Well done to Marjorie Mallon for bringing the anthology together and to the contributors for their personal and inspiring stories.

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

Also by M.J. Mallon

Read the reviews and buy the books:   Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Website:M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

A little more about M.J. Mallon author, poet and editor of the anthology.

I am an author who has been blogging for many moons: M.J. Mallon. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 Book Reviews

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.

When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.


Thanks for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed my review for This is Lockdown and will head over to buy a copy to read… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 21st -27th March 2021 – Editing, 1960s Music, Ball Boys, Reviews and humour.

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

I hope you are all well and have some decent weather. Ours is still mixed at the moment with freezing showers forecast for tonight. The sun is shining at the moment and whilst still nippy it is a welcome sight.

As you know I prefer the Classic Editor. I did a trial of the block editor and whilst I appreciate that many are very happy with it. I don’t find it helpful for me, because of the posts that I upload. For example this weekly round up which I try to update daily as even with the original classic editor it would usually take an hour. There was an update about three weeks ago which added more steps into the process. Whilst they have said they will not support the editor I had hoped they would have the decency to leave it alone.

But no..on Thursday without warning and in the middle of a post everything changed into an abomination that has removed all functionality and has added many more steps into the process.

I have approached WP who keep bombarding me with ads to upgrade and they tell me that if I go to the Business plan I can have their own classic editor plug in.. It is 300 dollars a year and the only thing that I want is the plug-in for the classic editor. I don’t want to monetise the blog as I don’t wish to sell any books or my services through it. I just want to be able to provide free book marketing for authors current and new. Post health blogs, music and funnies for people to enjoy.

Also I am not paying 300 dollars a year, if the classic editor they deliver in the plug-in, is the one that has just been dished up this week. I want the old classic editor with its functionality and customer friendly interface which was easy to use for new bloggers and those less technical alike. The person who responded to me yesterday could not answer that but still urged me to upgrade to the business plan anyway.

I have to say that I am disappointed in WordPress and their approach to this. There are (from what I can gather) five million + people using the classic editor plug-in and I would be very happy to pay 50 dollars a year for example, for a plug-in that gave me the original classic editor..From comments I have received there are great deal of others who would like to go back to it. It seems to me that WordPress are missing a business opportunity here. 5 million+ paying 50 dollars a year is 250million dollars.

I spent yesterday leaning new software offline. This is an open source platform and open to self-hosted blogs. I am too effectively now, as I can now write and format my posts offline and schedule and upload directly into my blog but without a middleman and the hassle of trying to work within this cumbersome framework.

Looking back at the beginnings of WordPress their mission statement was that this was a place where bloggers of every level could post free, creating posts their way using simple coding that was easy to follow. I am disappointed that they have moved so far from this ethos and the platform is now being run by programmers who are determined to show how creative they can be. That is blogging their way…not as promised the users way.

I am determined that until they throw me out kicking and screaming, I will continue to write my blog ‘my way’ so if you don’t see me around next week you will know what happened!!!

In the meantime.. please forgive any format issues etc as I find my way around the new offline editor.

Anyway on with the show…. and as always my thanks to William Price King, D.G. Kaye and all of you for keep coming back.. That does keep me motivated. Sally.

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1965 Part Two

A return to Tales from the Irish Garden- Spring: Chapter Seven – Jeremy the Donkey  

Chapter Eight – The Royal Banquet

#Poetry Challenge No 217 Themeprompt -#Etherees – Immortality 

#Poetry Lockdown Innit by M.J. Mallon

#Short Stories–Undercover Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon

Past Book Reviews 2020 – A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: A #Psychological Thriller by Lucinda E. Clarke

#Quotes D.L. Finn, #Blogging Pete Springer, #BookOffer John W. Howell 

jim bordenclaire fullertonSharon Marchisello

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 – #Accounting Jim Borden, #Ireland Claire Fullerton, #Finance Sharon Marchisello

debby1John Howell Head shotamy-m.-reade

Thursday March 25th 2021 – #Writing D.G. Kaye, #Characters John W. Howell, #Interview Amy M. Read

toni brody cody 2Bette Stevens

#Reviews – #Ghosts Toni Pike, #Butterflies Bette A. Stevens

-#Epic #Fantasy The Goblin Trilogy by Jaq D. Hawkins

New Author on the Shelves – #Musicians #Covid – Pause, Play, Repeat:The real impact of Covid-19 on musicians by Sammy Stein

cafe and bookstore 2021 new book final

teagan journey 3

New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy Dead of Winter: Journey 3 – The Fever Field by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

stevie Turner new marriage of convenienceEternal road john w. howelljacquie biggar book 7craig boyack 2019

#Family Stevie Turner, #Supernatural John W. Howell, #Action #Romance Jacquie Biggar, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

Meet the Authors 2021 – #Fantasy K.M. Allan, #Supernatural Jessica Bakkers, #Family Johnnie Bernhard 

chuck new biolisette profileAnn Chiappetta

Meet the Authors 2021 – #Thriller Chuck Bowie, #Family Lisette Brodey, #Guide Dog Ann Chiappetta

What causes your cravings? – Part Two – Need Chocolate? 

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Eleven – Anti-Aging and a nutrient dense diet

Meet the Muse by D. Wallace Peach 

Five Best Endings by Elizabeth Merry

#Pot Luck – #Spain Chronicles, Part 2 by Darlene Foster

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – Mid-week boost – More humour from the family… Shadows and Full time job

March 25th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Grilled Chicken and Genies

Open Mic Night – Special Guest Malcolm Allen – Home Depot and Algebra

Thanks very much for visiting this week and all your support.. enjoy your weekend thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: A #Psychological Thriller by Lucinda E. Clarke

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

This is my review from July 2020 for A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: A Psychological Thriller by Lucinda E. Clarke and can certainly recommend its gripping story line.

About the book

Leah’s nightmare began the day the dog died.

A few years earlier a fatal car crash took the lives of Leah’s beloved husband and their two babies, leaving her disabled. Life looked bleak. She was approaching forty, unemployed, broke and desperate.

Then she met Mason. He was charming, charismatic, persuasive, and a successful businessman, well respected in the community. His teenage daughter did nothing to welcome Leah into the family, but life is never perfect.

Then, two years into her second marriage, Leah Brand’s world is turned upside down; inanimate objects in the house move, her clothes are left out for the rubbish collection, pieces of furniture change places, there are unexplained noises and hauntings.

As the disturbances increase, everyone accuses Leah of losing her mind. Soon she begins to doubt herself and she starts to spiral down into a world of insanity. Is she going mad, or is someone out to destroy her? And if so, why?

A gripping, psychological thriller for fans of Mary Higgins Clarke and Louise Jensen.

My review for the book July 2020

A tense thriller that hurtles towards a cliff…..

I don’t think that I could have lived through the year that Leah Brandt did in this psychological thriller by Lucinda Clarke. Even when attempting to deal with the events and doubts that are causing such mayhem, in a rational way, Leah is drawn deeper and deeper into madness.

Surely this woman has already faced enough tragedy in her life? To lose your family and become disabled, would by daunting enough. However, it would seem that the fates have not finished with her just yet.

We are carried along on a roller coaster ride over the year, as each of the main characters, her dismissive new husband Mason, his stroppy teenage daughter Belinda and the seemingly warm and supportive next door neighbour Andrea Coe,  all adding levels of manipulation, rejection and secrecy. There is little respite, even in her mother’s home where she might have assumed to be free of the disturbing goings on in her own house. Layer upon layer of self-doubt results in a crisis of identity, and it is painful but compelling to watch the spiralling  descent into despair.

The characters were all well drawn and it was easy to have very clear opinions about their personalities. At times you almost you could reach into the pages and make your presence felt with a few choice words….. it is not easy to stand by and see someone being victimised and to remember this is a story!

Who is behind this personal vendetta and why? Will Leah be saved from this train wreck of her life? Who can you trust? I recommend that you read the book for yourself….

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

A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the books Amazon US –  And : Amazon UK – Blog: WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke — Follow Lucinda: GoodreadsTwitter: @LucindaEClarke

About Lucinda E. Clarke

Lucinda E Clarke [not her real name] was born in Dublin, but has lived in 8 other countries to date. She wanted to write but was railroaded into teaching. She had a habit of “falling” into other careers, announcing on radio, then scriptwriting for radio and television. She has been a professional writer since 1986 winning over 20 awards for her work, including mayoral speeches, company profiles, drama documentaries, educational programmes for radio and television, adverts, news inserts, court videos, National Geographic, cookery programmes, to name but a few!

She lectured in scriptwriting, had her own column in various publications, and written for national magazines. She was commissioned for two educational books by Heinemann and Macmillan, and book reports for UNESCO and UNICEF.

She graduated into running her own video production company in South Africa.


Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoyed my review for Lucinda’s book and will check out her others. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Fantasy – Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1) by D.Wallace Peach

This week my review is for D.Wallace Peach and Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1)

About the book

When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness.

Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul.

When his brother reaches out, open wounds begin to scar. But the tenuous peace won’t last. While those who rule the Vales yield to the lure of their ambitions, slavers of Ezar roam the countryside, hunting for human chattel. While one man manipulates the law, another heeds the souls of violence howling in his head.

Raze too listens to his soul’s whispers, and as danger intrudes on his quiet life, he has no choice but to return to his father’s world and join the fight.

My review for Soul Swallowers March 20th 2021

Having read The Unraveling of the Veil series, my expectations for Soul Swallowers was high. I knew that there would be immaculate world building and interesting and memorable characters, and I certainly was not disappointed.

We follow the lives of those who are destined to be rulers and others who will always be bonded. The mantle of leadership does not always pass from father to son or daughter and old grievances and rifts threaten the peace of the kingdoms that lay along the shores of the Shattered Sea. Politics and relationships are complicated as characters swallow the souls of those who might enhance their given powers or in some cases add a new edge to advance their agenda. Some souls bring their peaceful intentions but others are far more dangerous. Some are gifted to those they love but most are a commodity and eagerly absorbed in quantities that can bring madness.

As the story develops  we follow the central character Raze, noble born but who has chosen to walk away having suffered a devastating loss., We meet his close companions and those who are a threat to his life on the freehold he considers his home and we see the effects of soul swallowing on the innocent and the evil. We are drawn into the intrigue as rivals jostle for power and control over other kingdoms and manipulate their own children for gain. Whilst Raze might wish to remain on the periphery of this turmoil, events and new alliances force him into taking a stand.

Throw in the slavers who bend the law to suit their own purposes and are willing to kidnap and kill to achieve fill their coffers; you have a fast paced adventure that is interlaced with moments of spiritual and thought provoking reflections on the absorption of souls.

I can highly recommend Soul Swallowers to those who enjoy both fantasy and excellently written adventures and look forward to reading the second book Legacy of Souls.

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

 A small selection of of other books by D.Wallace Peach


Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

About Diana Wallace Peach

I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit. Tolkien … literally changed my life.

I love writing, and have the privilege to pursue my passion full time. I’m still exploring the fantasy genre, trying out new points of view, creating optimistic works with light-hearted endings, and delving into the grim and gritty what-ifs of a post-apocalyptic world. Forgive me if I seem untethered in my offering of reads. Perhaps one day, I’ll settle into something more reliable. For now, it’s simply an uncharted journey, and I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I.


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review for Diana’s book.. Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Thriller – The Reckoning Squad by S. Burke

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

Today I am sharing the review from June 2020 for the thriller, The Reckoning Squad by Suzanne Burke.

About the book

The Reckoning Squad was the new name being whispered in the darkened corridors of the powerful in Washington. The name was whispered with awe, and the whispers grew louder.

Twenty people had been carefully vetted and recruited to undergo specialized training. Training engineered to break them utterly, intended to shatter everything they once believed themselves capable of surviving. Only the best of them made it through the twelve weeks of hell. They now formed a cohesive black-ops unit, known as The Reckoning Squad.

Their facility is breached, and the team’s numbers are decimated. The survivors know that they’re in a fight for their lives. They have been betrayed from within. Trust has now become a rare commodity. They want answers.

The betrayers don’t understand just what they’ve unleashed.

But they are about to find out.

The Reckoning Squad are coming, and they have just rewritten the rules.

My review for The Reckoning Squad 27th June 2020

A fast-paced, action packed page turner that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I am a huge fan of well written thrillers that don’t sag in the middle. The author keeps the tension and pace through the story and still kept it realistic and provided a satisfactory ending.

Great to see a strong female protagonist, who whilst being highly trained, with lethal mental and physical skills, still retains her humanity. Even before the traumatic event that propelled her into the sights of the recruiters of this special squad of men and women, she had already showed great strength of character by befriending the loner and focus of bullying at her school.

There were no allowances made for Chaz during training as part of the elite group, and she continually proves her character and intelligence as well as physical prowess as the story develops.

All the characters were well drawn and were allowed to evolve naturally as they interacted with each other and experienced the dramatic events and the revelations. Their training and reliance on each other is tested time and time again, and it forges an even stronger bond between them. Apart from Chaz, there is also the enigmatic Zach and the surprising Charles on his road to redemption.

The drama is played out in some spectacular locations, with danger lurking around every corner. Who can you trust? Who has your back? What secret will be revealed next? And does the enemy know what they have unleashed?

The plot has many twists and turns and the team has to be self-reliant as they try to discover where in the chain of command they are vulnerable and how to keep one step ahead of disaster. There is redemption, justice, resolution and romance to add to the many excellent elements in this novel, and it keeps the reader on tenterhooks to the last page.

I hope there will be more adventures for The Reckoning Squad to make best use of all their training and resolve.. I would certainly like to read more. Recommended to anyone who enjoys fast paced thrillers.

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

Also by Suzanne Burke

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK –   Follow Suzanne: Goodreads –   Website: Soooz Burke AuthorTwitter: @pursoot

About Suzanne Burke

Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of-miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.

Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.

Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.

Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke.


Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you have enjoyed my review and will check out this book and the others by Suzanne Burke. Thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War by Marina Osipova

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

Today I am sharing my review from June 2020 for  The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War by Marina Osipova

About the book

October 1941. A small village outside Moscow. Serafima bids farewell to Vitya, a Soviet officer going to the front. With only moments left together, she places a cross around her beloved’s neck and reluctantly releases him into a cruel world where nothing is certain, especially whether she will ever see him again. Days later Germans invade her village and take over her tiny house. Serafima and her mother must comply with orders, endure abuse, and stay put or their village will be annihilated.

As World War II intertwines Serafima’s and Vitya’s life with that of a young German violinist and a Russian intellectual, their destinies are irrevocably altered. Can they rise to the challenge of agonizing moral choices and learn to forgive and love again?

My review for the book 20th June 2020

A well written novel with central characters and events that will stay with you long after the book is finished.

The story is told with stark realism of life in a small village near Moscow and of the conflict on the Eastern Front, at a time when Russia and Germany were back and forth across each other’s border with devastating consequences. For all the horror, suffering and death of the men fighting on the front line, it was the women and children who ended up being brutalised, starved and reviled by their own.

There is already poverty in the village where Serafima lives with her single mother in a small house that catches the eye of the commander of the invading German forces as his billet.

Despite the forced labour and the harsh Russian winter, Serafima keeps her dreams alive by thinking of Vitya who she loves and is now on the front. Then one day there is a devastating event that would not only change her life for ever, but that of a young German soldier whose gentleness has been twisted by the military code of domination.

Threaded through the inhumanity of war, is the beauty of music, kindness from unexpected sources, compassion, rekindling of maternal love and forgiveness.

All the characters are strongly drawn and evolve through the story as events bring about fundamental changes to their personalities and behaviour. Some become dehumanised whilst others seek redemption. We follow their lives during the conflict and in the uneasy peace that follows, discovering their inner thoughts in letters written to family and loved ones.

With the war ended, the race to grab power in the resulting vacuum is lethal in its unbending drive to annihilate any resistance. Even from those who have fought for their country or worked as slaves in the factories to support the war effort. For a population already starved of food, freedom and rights during war, there is little difference in peace time.

This book is not a Mills and Boon romance, it is stark, realistic and emotive with a surprising ending that does at least bring all the threads together with a feeling of closure. Whilst a little more justice was deserved by one or two, in the real world that does not always happen, especially when the people concerned are shielded by the uniform that they wear.

It is a reminder that whilst there is bravery on an individual basis in war, there is also inhumanity, cruelty and dishonour, tragically aimed at those least able to defend themselves. Recommended.

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

Other books by Marina Osipova

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And on: Amazon UK –  follow Marina : Goodreads –  website:Marina OsipovaTwitter: @marosikok

About Marina Osipova

Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.

Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you have enjoyed my review and will check out this book and the others by Marina Osipova. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #FREE Book Marketing Opportunities 2021 – Making the most of your promotion Sally Cronin

There are a few things going on in the Cafe and Bookstore and I thought this was a good time to have a recap of existing promotions and some new or revised ones coming up in the next few weeks.

I am always delighted to welcome new authors to the shelves of the cafe and if you are new to the blog then here is the link that tells you what I need from you to create your first promotion.  It also shares some tips on how to get the best from your promotion.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves 2021 – #Free book promotion

For existing authors in the Cafe and you can check Cafe and Bookstore for your entry and if you have changed covers or have a new book recently released that I have missed please email me with the Amazon link to

Authors in the cafe have reviews that are recent within the last six months or have released a new book... this enable me to keep up with the 130 to 150 who are in the cafe at any particular time. I do move authors into another annex and check regularly for reviews or releases after this six month and return them to the main cafe with new events.

If you have a new book being released and have a date for it to be on pre-order or available then please email as soon as possible so I can schedule a new book promotion…

There will be a weekly news post once a week which will feature five or six authors with recent reviews. Slightly shorter entry but will all the usual links. The reason behind this increased number of authors is to expand the exposure for all those featured.

If you are featured it would be very helpful if you could visit the post and share on your own social media. Not just to spread the news of your own review but to support the other authors in the post. If all of the featured authors share on twitter for example it will promote your books to a much larger potential readership and that makes a huge difference.

For example: If all the authors in the feature share to their followers on Twitter, combined with mine… the post has the potential to reach thousands more potential readers.

On Saturday I posted the new series of share an excerpt which this time around is for previous books. The focus is usually on our latest releases but particularly in the case of a series it is useful to showcase the first book to encourage new readers to start at the beginning. As you can see from this link D. Wallace Peach received 211 views of her post featuring an excerpt from Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1).. which incidentally I am currently reading…

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from a Previous Book- #Fantasy – Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1) by D.Wallace Peach More stats 211

Also a good book deserves to have time in the spotlight and with new readers comes more recent reviews which is excellent.  You can find the details of how to participate in the post Here

This recently added annex to the Cafe and Bookstore is thriving with new children’s books being added regularly. I know how difficult it is to market any book, but even more so children’s books where you are marketing to adults rather than the intended readership. I am looking forward to adding more books in the coming weeks and if you have children’s books as well as adult books, you can be in both bookshops. There is no time limit on reviews so happy to share as long as they are available on Amazon.. here are the details for adding your books to the reading room..Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room

On March 22nd a new series of Meet the Authors kicks off. Since the last series in June last year another 25 authors have joined the Cafe and Bookstore. This is an opportunity to get to know them and their books a little better. I will also include their blog social media links and it would be great if you could follow them there too.

Once I have featured the new authors I will move onto feature the other authors in the Cafe again with updated bios and books etc so it will be a full bookstore promotion that will take us up to the summer.

As I am in author’s Amazon pages and social media frequently I do see some areas that might benefit from being updated. I know that I often nag you about these points but it does make a difference.

Getting reviews: I know what it is like to get your book out there and reviewed, but sometimes you need to give the process a helping hand.

I buy the books that I review unless it is an author that I have previously read and reviewed who asks me to read an advance copy.

I wish I could read a book of every author in the Cafe and Bookstore and the majority of books that I buy and review are for authors on the shelves and apart from the pleasure of reading their books, it also offers me another opportunity to provide additional support. You can find all my reviews for the last two years at this link: Smorgasbord Book Reviews 2018 2021

Here are a few suggestions on how to obtain reviews within the blogging and social media community.

  • Offer the ebook to beta readers before publication so that there are some reviews as soon as it is available.
  • Check book review sites (many are free) and check the submission information and send the book off to them. For example Rosie Amber Review Team has been established for several years and had an amazing team of authors and readers who review books that are submitted.. Getting a great review from one of the team members is a fantastic boost to your book.
  • Offer your book to members of a group that you are part of – limit it to 3 or 5 free ebooks that you can email to them… if you are not already a member of The Literary Diva’s Library on Facebook do check it out…
  • Approach bloggers who interview authors and share an excerpt from your new book plus offer potential readers the chance to get to know you better.
  • If you are a blogger keep a book page up to date but also at the bottom of appropriate posts you can add a cover of your latest book with the blurb and links to buy.

Author Pages on Amazon and Goodreads

The three key Amazon sites for English language books is your country of origin and then US and UK sites. You can set up your Author pages through Author Central on those three sites so that they are identical.

Not all authors that I check out for recent reviews have an author page at all. When you have multiple books that makes it tougher for readers to find all of them in one place and makes it harder for me to promote them.

This also applies to Goodreads – particularly as readers can post there from any country in the world and also if they have not bought the book (Amazon’s review policy) having received as a beta reader, as a gift or borrowed from a library.  There are quite a few authors in the Cafe who don’t have an author page and again this means it makes it harder to promote the books.

Having a Book Page on your Blog

I have all my books on a page on my blog with links to Amazon and to Goodreads.. I am always surprised when I go to a book page and there is not buy link. I know that many of you like me do not have a monetized blog but I have always shared that link and because I am not actually selling through the blog it has never been questioned. Not having a link to find out more about the book is wasting an excellent marketing opportunity.

At the very least put the Goodreads author page with all the reviews and readers can link to  Amazon to buy the books from there. Here is mine by the way.. wouldn’t want to miss a marketing opportunity!! My books and reviews 2021 

Using a pinned Tweet to promote your books.

I bang this drum repeatedly because it is a free and very useful way to promote your books.

Apart from being the first thing that a new follower to your Twitter will see, it expands your profile and enables you to share your books. They sometimes block external sales links such as Amazon so I have a page on my blog with recent reviews for each book and a link to my UK and US Amazon page. As you can see since I put this up on January 11th it has been shared 320 times. That will be then seen on someone else’s timeline and if they have a few thousand followers it is great exposure.

When I don’t have a new book of my own in the offing I will change the tweet every couple of weeks to showcase the Cafe and Bookstore or a new promotion.

Also when someone retweets a post on the blog or follows me for the first time I will go in and retweet their pinned tweet. If there is not one available it is a wasted opportunity for them to be shared to my followers.

Sharing someone’s pinned tweet is a quick and easy way to say thank you.

Posts from your archives is also a good way to promote your books. Open to all bloggers with some variations to each series, those who are authors have an opportunity to showcase their books and their buy links.. The current series is for posts from the last six months of 2020.. and I am currently scheduling for May with posts but you are more than welcome to participate: : Posts from Your Archives 2021


I am usually posting two weeks ahead to keep up to date and this means that I sometimes cannot promote books for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore that are on special offer. To remedy this I am starting a new section to the Blogger Daily that goes out four to five times a week and is therefore more time sensitive for book offers that might only be for a weekend or a week. If you are an author in the cafe.. and you can check your entry here Cafe and Bookstore – email me ( with the book link on Amazon and the dates that it will be reduced with the price and I will include in the nearest Blogger Daily.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore has been offering authors FREE book promotion for the last five years. With the various promotions each week and average of 25 authors are featured with their new releases, recent reviews, extracts and special promotions such as the Christmas Book Fair. Additionally there is an opportunity to participate in the Meet the Author and Posts from Your Archives…In the last twelve months there have been over 500 promotions shared on the blog and across my social media network of just over 46,000 connections.

It is very much a collaborative effort and I am so grateful to the amazing authors who go out of their way not just to share the promotions they are featured in but others that they visit each week. It does go a long way to make book marketing more effective .

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates -#Reviews – #Poetry Frank Prem, #Thriller Toni Pike, #Writers Harmony Kent More stats 210

It is two years since I posted the Book Marketing series and around 100 authors have requested the pdf copy that I made available.  In the next couple of months I will be updating and reposting the series so expect some more nagging soon!!

Thanks for dropping by and look forward to sharing your books in one of the promotions soon.  Sally.



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – March 7th -13th 2021 – Free promotion, Petula Clark, Pigeons, Poetry, Anti-Aging, Frozen Shoulders and humour

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

Before I get into the news and posts from the week.. I would like to just to share the link again to Debby Gies post this week in case you missed it. Her husband is in hospital again and as you will read has received some devastating news. Debby is as we know a warrior woman and is advocate and carer for her husband, a challenge under normal circumstances but further complicated by Covid restrictions. Let’s Have A Look – Our Medical System During Covid #Health and #Wellness

For the time being you will not see as much of her as we usually do ( I know how much she supports so many of us in the community). This month’s relationship column has been postponed until April and I am sure that you join me in wishing both Debby and her husband love and strength.

A mixed week on the home front with 100kph winds and lashing rain most of the week and they are still pretty fierce today and it is very cold, even if the sun is shining. I did manage to get out earlier in the week and have a bit of tidy in the garden and check on progress with the annuals.. The hydrangeas seem to be doing well and another six weeks should see all eight of the potted ones back in bloom…

Right outside my window the small clump of primroses has expanded and that too gives me hope that spring might at last be around the corner.

There is a lot of chatter going on in the hedges that surround our garden and by the amount of seed they are getting through I think it is safe to say that as far as they are concerned, despite the weather, there is courting to be done.

There is a new series for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore –  Share an Excerpt from a Previous Book starting in April and here is the post that tells you all about it. An opportunity to give an older book a bit of love and certainly useful to share an excerpt from the first book in a series etc. Anyway another bit of free book marketing that will just take a few minutes of your time to participate. Here is an example of how it will look the link: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #Free #Bookmarketing – Share an Excerpt from a previous books 2021

Coming up on Monday morning is a full list of the current and upcoming promotions for you to take advantage of. Don’t forget it is free and all it takes is a little time to let me know your news… and to help spread the word when it has been promoted.

On my book front, Mary Crowley who is both an author and columnist for The Munster Express not only featured my latest book but wrote a wonderful review.. that was a huge boost to the week. She also kindly put on Goodreads too

Time to get on with the posts from the week.. and as always my thanks to William Price King, Debby Gies for the funnies (posted a couple of weeks ahead) and all of you who provide such amazing support each week for me and those that are promoted in the Cafe.

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1964 Part Two 

A return to Tales from the Irish Garden – Winter: The Messengers of Peace and Desperation and The Storyteller

Tales from the Irish Garden – Winter: Chapter Four – The Flight to the New Land 

#WWII #VichyFrance- Where Irises Never Grow by Paulette Mahurin 

Past Book Reviews 2020 -#Historical #Mystery – A Girl Like You (A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel Book 1) by Michelle Cox 

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Paranormal – Wake Robin Ridge: Book One by Marcia Meara 

Chesebro’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge No 215 Poet’s Choice – #BadgerHexastich – Happiness  

Blogging Kindness by D. Wallace Peach 

#Family Comings and Goings Twenty Years Ago by Elizabeth Merry

Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Spain Chronicles, Part 1 by Darlene Foster 

#Reviews – #Ghost Toni Pike, #FunBus Sue Wickstead 

New Book on the Shelves – Kong and the Magic Jungle (The Adventures of Kong, the Magic Gorilla) by Joyce Murphy 

#Romance #Humour – The Little Ice Cream Shop by the Sea by Lizzie Chantree 

New Book on the Shelves – #Gothic #Supernatural – Wolfe Manor by Adele Marie Park 

New Author on the Shelves – #YA #HisoricalAdventure – Vengeance of a Slave by V.M. Sang 

#Poetry M.J. Mallon, #Thriller Alex Craigie, #Thriller Carol Balawyder 

K.M. Allan, Judith Barrow, Ritu Bhathal, Sandra Cox and James J. Cudney 

Progression of osteoporosis

Why do so many people in their 50s suffer from a frozen shoulder? 

Part Nine – Anti-Aging and how we face the world 

Monday March 8th 2021 – #Ireland Claire Fullerton, #Podcasts Jan Sikes, #Spirituality Sue Vincent 

Tuesday March 9th 2021 – #Environment Carol Taylor, #Humanity Pete Springer, #Motivation John Howell 

#Interview Judith Barrow, #Reviews D.L. Finn, #History Pat Furstenberg 

Thursday March 11th 2021 – #Humour Craig Boyack, #York A Bit About Britain, #NegativeReviews Jan Sikes, #Release Sue Vincent 

March 9th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Casinos and Grammar one-liners 

March 11th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – KFC and Shepherds 

Open Mic Night – Special Guest Malcolm Allen – A Plethora of humour 


Thanks very much for dropping and for your support during the week.. look forward to seeing you again soon…Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #WWII #VichyFrance- Where Irises Never Grow by Paulette Mahurin

This week a novel that lays bare the horrors of war in an occupied country and the strength of a people to resist. Where Irises Never Grow by Paulette Mahurin

About the book

With courage, depth, and passionate insight, bestselling author Paulette Mahurin captures the horrors of the German occupation of France. Where Irises Never Grow tells the story of how one book that escaped Nazi confiscation moved through time holding a cryptic note.

Unraveling its mystery brings the reader to Lyon, France. It is there war, in all its bloodstained pathos, is witnessed through the escalating cruelty of the Vichy regime. Particularly impacted is the Legrand family. Thrown into a whirlwind of turmoil they struggle to help the Resistance while maintaining deceitful relations with the government. As the Nazis move toward occupying southern France, the duplicity unravels along with all the Legrands are protecting.

Their struggle is raw. Uplifting. Nothing is held back in depicting the horrors inflicted on innocent people by the corrupt tyrannical despots. But this is more than a story of war. It is a story of friendship and loyalty. Of love and sacrifices. And choices for ultimately it is a story that shines a light on the fundamental urge by decent human beings to do right by another, to stand tall no matter the risk when millions stood silent. Where Irises Never Grow will linger in the readers gut and mind long after the last page is finished.

My review for the book 13th March 2021

What begins as a search for a first edition of Aesop’s Fables and the discovery of a scrap of paper with two names, turns into a story that is both haunting and unforgettable.

This novel is one that brings to life a time, still within living memory, that demonstrated how thin the veneer of civilisation really is. All it takes is a cadre of evil men, led by a man without humanity, to perpetrate one of the worst atrocities in modern history.This carefully and well researched story, based on actual reports by survivors and historians of the time, spotlights the best and the worst traits of mankind.

Set in Vichy France where pro-Nazi leaders began to systematically remove their own citizens from the population at the behest of the occupiers, a resistance movement grows as defiant men and women took a stand against the tyranny. Putting their own lives at risk and those of their close family and friends to save those among them who follow a religion that is being demonised. .

The author captures and brings the horrifying events of those few years in the early 1940s into stark reality. Isolated and hunted by packs of men and dogs, Jewish families and captured resistance fighters faced the horror of the basement in a previously luxury hotel at the hands of a monster. Those who did not fall into the hands of the Gestapo lived in fear of being discovered, wondering what the next bang on the door would bring.

The characters are vividly portrayed and the reader becomes engaged and emotionally invested in their plight and fight for survival. The author keeps up the pace of this desperate race against time, and despite the dreadful consequences of a careless whisper or action, there are still moments of humanity and the power of love in sustaining the human spirit.

I give the book five stars unreservedly, but I do understand that it might not be a book that everyone feels they can read. This is about the past, and today enemies have become allies. And even in that time of desperation, there were elements within the occupying army who were sympathetic and compelled to pass along information to the resistance that saved lives. There are few left alive who perpetrated this particular atrocity, but even today there are still millions who live in fear and seek to escape persecution in other parts of the world.

The truth is hard to face, and there are certainly more than a handful of people who voice their disbelief that the holocaust took place. This book based on actual accounts of the time, leaves the reader in no doubt about its truth. And part of that truth is that very few of our own countries can take the moral high ground with regard to religious persecution over the centuries and even today. This book reinforces the need for responsible nations to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves.

At its heart, this novel is also about remembrance, and a tribute to the millions who lost their lives along with the thousands of men and women who saved as many as they could, at the expense of their own survival. They should always be remembered. Recommended.

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

A selection of other books by Paulette Mahurin

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

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Paulette : Goodreads – Blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on WordPressTwitter: @MahurinPaulette

Paulette Mahurin is an international best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the bestseller lists for literary fiction and historical fiction on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in the summer of 2018 also to rave reviews.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.


I hope you have enjoyed my review of Pauline’s book and will explore this and her other books in more detail.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Paranormal – Wake Robin Ridge: Book One by Marcia Meara

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

Today I am sharing my review from June 2020 for Wake Robin Ridge: Book One by Marcia Meara

About the book

Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, has set Book One of her Wake-Robin Ridge series amid the haunting beauty of the North Carolina mountains, where ghosts walk, ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.

“A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news. Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help.”

On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.

As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.

My review for the book 13th June 2020

A very enjoyable read with elements of romance, paranormal and mystery coming together in a story that will keep you intrigued to the end.

The setting of the story is spectacular, and the author takes us through the year with great visual effect, as the seasons change so dramatically in the North Carolina mountains. The love stories spanning the 50 years, are interconnected through the cabin that Sarah Grey has bought as a writing retreat, and escape from a life that had become far too predictable.

The relationships between the characters are told in parallel, with flashbacks and letters that reveal the truth about the terrible tragedy back in the 1960s that resulted in present day events.

Marcia Meara shows a deep understanding of human nature and takes time to build up the relationship between Mac and Sarah, allowing the reader an opportunity to engage with the characters in a meaningful way. Equally well told is the love story between Ruthie and Frank. Hopes for their future together were blighted by her past and the evil that was looming on the edges of this idyllic spot. The author does a great job in bringing all these strands from past and present together and creating a tense and frightening build up to the climax in the 1960s and the long lasting aftershocks that cause turmoil in the present day.

What is the mystery behind the terrifying events on one particular night every year and how can it be stopped?  You will need to read the book to find out. Which I highly recommend that you do.

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

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and one small dachshund.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?


Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you have enjoyed my review and will check out this book and the others by Marcia Meara. Thanks Sally