Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Historical Andrew Joyce, #Historical Paulette Mahurin

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today set in Ireland and the mid 1850s in America is Mahoney by Andrew Joyce – a book that I can highly recommend.

About Mahoney

In this compelling, richly researched novel, author Andrew Joyce tells a story of determination and grit as the Mahoney clan fights to gain a foothold in America. From the first page to the last, fans of Edward Rutherford and W. Michael Gear will enjoy this riveting, historically accurate tale of adventure, endurance, and hope.

In the second year of An Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.

One of the 200+ reviews for the book

Jun 06, 2019 D. Peach rated it five stars

Mahoney is a family saga that follows the lives of three generations of fathers and sons. Part I chronicles the immigration of Devin Mahoney from Ireland to the US in the mid-1850s to escape the potato famine. Despite rampant discrimination, he contributes to the growing nation as a brick-layer and railroad man. Part II extends into the American West with Devin’s son, Dillon, who becomes a US Marshal and California oilman. Part III transitions to the story of David Mahoney as he rediscovers the country his forefathers helped build and finds himself in the process.

Joyce tells the story in an omniscient point of view, sprinkling third-person and first-person narratives with historical details about the time and place, the men’s vocations, living conditions, war, justice and injustice. These details are well researched and add a fascinating backdrop to the human story. Descriptions are vivid, and the pace is leisurely.

The characters are richly developed. Dialog is exceptional, and relationships feel authentic. I felt connected to each of the three men and their stories and was moved at the end as David Mahoney embraces the legacy left by his father and grandfather. An excellent read that will appeal to anyone who enjoys stories about multi-generational families, historical fiction, or the making of a nation. 

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

 A selection of other books by Andrew Joyce

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Andrew Joyce, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Andrew : Goodreads – blog: Andrew Joyce on WordPressTwitter: @Huckfinn76 

61uytgjxb0l-_ux250_About Andrew Joyce.

Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

Joyce now lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Another recommended historical novel is by Paulette Mahurin set in WW2 – The Peaceful Village

About the book

During the German occupation of France, nestled in the lush, verdant countryside in the Haute-Vienne department of central France was the peaceful village of Oradour-sur-Glane. It was a community where villagers woke to the medley of nature’s songs: roosters crowing, birds chirping, cats purring, and cows shuffling out to pasture. The people who lived there loved the tranquil nature of their beautiful home, a tranquility that existed year-round. Even with the German occupation and Oradour-sur-Glane being incorporated as part of Vichy France, Oradour – the village with cafés, shops, and a commuter tram to Limoges – remained relatively untouched by the stress of the occupation.
While Oradour enjoyed the lack of German presence, twenty-two kilometers to the northwest in Limoges, the Germans were reacting with increasing cruelty to organized attacks on their soldiers by the armed resistance organization Francs-Tireurs et Partisans (FTP). Headed by Georges Guingouin, the Limoges FTP was considered the most effective of the French Resistance groups. Guingouin’s missions fueled the German military to kill and incarcerate in concentration camps anyone perceived as supporters or sympathizers of the Resistance.

Up until the middle of 1944, the German anti-partisan actions in France never rose to the level of brutality or number of civilian casualties that had occurred in eastern Europe. A little before the Allies landed in Normandy, that changed, when German officers stationed on the Eastern Front were transferred to France. It was then that FTP’s increasing efforts to disrupt German communications and supply lines was met with disproportionate counter attacks, involving civilians. Guingouin’s response was to target German officers. When Guingouin set his sights on two particular German officers, all hell broke loose.

Based on actual events as told by survivors, The Peaceful Village is the story of the unfolding of the events that led up to one of the biggest World War II massacres on French soil. But it is not simply a story of Nazi brutality and the futility of war, it is a story of love. The love of family. The love of neighbor. The love of country. Compassion and courage burn from the pages as the villagers’ stories come alive. Written by the international bestselling author of The Seven Year Dress, Paulette Mahurin, this book is an homage to the villagers who lived and loved in Oradour-sur-Glane.

One of the early reviews for the book

Marina Osipova 5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and unforgettable. Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2022

The Peaceful Village is a powerful story of tragedy and love that no atrocities can destroy.

Opening the story with a poetical air, the author doesn’t let the reader to enjoy the seemingly calm course of life in a beautiful village in France for very long. The narrative transfers the reader into the world of ruthless war between two opposing camps—the lovable villagers of Oradour and Maquisards, the partisans against the sinister occupants.

Masterfully crafted scenes of peaceful family life, love, and camaraderie tugged at this reader’s heart; the acts of the unparalleled brutality made it stop at times. The imagery was so vivid, I couldn’t stop admiring the author’s ability to feel the characters and the place where the events unfold as though she lived there and met those people.

I’m not going to give away any details here. Read this book, a work of historical fiction at its best.

I was enthralled by this tale from the beginning to the end. Intense and unforgettable. And it’s amazing how timely this novel, based on the actual events, which happened 78 years ago, sounds nowadays. A strong reminder of the heinous crimes that mustn’t be forgotten or forgiven. Highly recommended

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

Also 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

About Paulette Mahurin

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.


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


Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Children’s #Baking Dawn Doig, #Dog #Navy Patricia Furstenberg

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

Children’s author Dawn Doig who lives in the Cameroon and supports a number of initiatives including this school for deaf children, that is badly in need of help to not just teach the students but keep them safe.

CAESEDA Centre d’Acceuil et d’Education Specialisee des Enfants Deficients Auditifs Nkolmebanga, Cameroon introduced by Dawn Doig

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The deaf children who currently live and go to school at CAESEDA Centre d’Acceuil et d’Education Specialisee des Enfants Deficients Auditifs Nkolmebanga, approximately 80 km outside Yaoundé, Cameroon are in need of a new school and living quarters (orphanage).

Dawn Doig donates the funds from the sale of her 15 hardback and paperback children’s books to this very worthy cause.

Here is the link to the Go Get Funding Page for more photographs:New School and Orphanage for Cameroon Deaf Children

About the book

Lulubelle loves sweet things – delicious cakes, mouth-watering pies, chewy cookies, tempting bars.

Lulubelle loves to share the sweet things she makes with her family and friends.
Parents, have fun baking all of Lulubelle’s recipes and while teaching the alphabet via rhyming words to your child.

My review for the book September 4th 2021

This is a great sized book for children A4 with big print and beautifully illustrated by the author.

Lulubelle definitely has a sweet tooth and all the recipes are favourite deserts and cookies that children will be immediately drawn to and offer an opportunity for some fun baking sessions in the kitchen with mum or dad.

Some of my personal favourites are Perfect Pumpkin Pie and Zucchini Muffins…although I wouldn’t say no to Kitchen Sink Cookies either.

Each recipe is accompanied by Lulubelle and her friends, suitably attired to complement the particular recipe, and a rhyme for a child to read and learn, featuring the letter of the alphabet featured.

A great idea for a cookbook and perhaps Lulubelle might follow it up with an A-Z of easy savoury dishes that will introduce them to other foods as well as the format is terrific.

Bright, colourful and full of rhymes and recipes adults and children alike will enjoy reading as they prepare and eat the treats. A recommended read.

Available in all formats read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Dawn Doig which are available in several languages.

Read the reviews and Buy Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Dawn: Goodreads – Website: Dawn Doig – Twitter: @Shoebears

Dawn donates the sales of the books to the orphanage.

  About Dawn Doig

Authors in the shadows can lead very interesting lives full of inspiration for the next engaging story: I am the author (and sometimes illustrator) of 15 children’s picture books. Three new books were just recently released. I am a certified Canadian audiologist and had an amazing 23-year career that took me to Kuwait, England, and the far north of Canada (Northwest Territories and Nunavut), culminating in an eight year stint as the head of the audiology unit in a large rehabilitation hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 2013, I went back to school to complete a second master’s degree, this time in education, and I am now a teacher of English as an additional language.

My husband, an educator with many hats, had followed me around the globe for 23 years and now I follow him. My first job teaching was in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We traded in the parkas, heavy boots, gloves, scarves and pollution masks for short-sleeved shirts, sunglasses and sandals and relocated to Yaoundé, Cameroon almost two years ago. Many of my books have been inspired by the children I have worked with as an audiologist and ELL teacher. Most have received 5-star reviews and one recently received a silver medal for cover design. I had the pleasure of reading one of my books to the three and four year old Pre-K classes and it was sheer delight to hear them giggling throughout the reading. I am still very much in the shadows when it comes to selling my books (very difficult from Africa), but it tickles my heart when students find my books in the library and announce, “Ms. Dawn, you’re a real live author!” Knowing that my books bring on laughter and tears brings me great joy and I dream that one day my stories will touch more and more people around the world. My time will eventually dawn (pun intended).

A wonderful story for children based on a true story of a dog enlisted in the Royal Navy – Joyful Trouble by Patricia Furstenberg

About the book

A humorous read about an incredible dog and how he found his true, yet unexpected calling.
A dog. A friendship. A purpose.

Proven to warm your heart, “Joyful Trouble” is a fast-paced, engaging and funny story.

Patricia Furstenberg paints a charming portrait of the bond between a small girl and boy and their much-loved Grandad. This book takes readers on an unbelievable journey, tackling universal themes and voicing animal rights and the importance of fighting for what is right.

When a Great Dane arrives in a Navy base nobody expects him to win everybody’s hearts, although breaking some rules along the way. But things soon turn sour as somebody threatens to put him to sleep. Who will stand up for this four-legged gentle giant?

A charming celebration of innocence.

My review for Joyful Trouble April 4th 2020

This is a lovely book for all ages, but particularly for children as they are introduced to not just Joyful Trouble and his extraordinary story, but also dogs in general with their amazing abilities and their special bond with humans. This involves some valuable lessons on how best to treat man’s best friend with kindness and respect with the wider view as to how we as humans should behave towards each other.

Great Danes are massive dogs and when they get into trouble, it is difficult not to miss it. Joyful has already bonded with a little boy who goes to boarding school, leaving his best friend behind, which leads to the dog wandering the town and connecting with sailors from the naval base and accompanying them on their trips into Cape Town on the train when off duty. Clearly not appreciated by everyone including grumpy ticket inspectors.

However, a high ranking naval officer sees a solution and this leads to the true story of the enlistment of Joyful Trouble into the Royal Navy. There are several escapades that follow, and it is a wonderful story of how animals and humans find companionship and solace in a time of war, when young men leave home and find themselves in a very rigid and unfamiliar environment. Anyone who has ever been owned by a dog will love the book as well as the characters of Grandad,Tommy and Ana, who are the delightful recipients of his stories of this wonderful dog he was given responsibility for.

At the end of the book, as an added treat, there are some recipes for Vetoek a traditional fried dough bread and some delicious sounding lemon and cinnamon cookies. There is also an introduction to the poem Jock of the Bushveld that will delight any child as they sample the cookies.

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

A small selection of other books by Patricia Furstenberg (some in Afrikaans)

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK Blog: Alluring Creations Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @PatFurstenberg

About Patricia

Patricia Furstenberg is a skilled author, blogger and mother. With a medical degree behind her, Patricia writes about everything she feel passionate about: history and the human minds behind it, the psychology of war, dog heroes, and the humor of animals.

Her latest book, “Transylvania’s History A to Z” is “a wonderful combination of stories, photos, history, and legends.”

Her contemporary military novel “Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for”, is a highly emotional read, action-packed, a vivid story of enormous sacrifice and bravery. “Silent Heroes” is a narrative about the value of life. A new look at the War in Afghanistan, at the MWD, Military Working Dogs and the brave Marines fighting it, but also at the Afghans caught in it.

Her historical fiction book “Joyful Trouble” is an Amazon Bestseller.

Her book of poems “As Good As Gold” became a #1 New Release the day it was published.

For her children’s books, Patricia is well known for her uplifting, charming themes and lovable, enchanting characters: dogs, cats, elephants, cheetahs, lions, but also squirrels and snails. Using her inner child she crafts stories and poems that are great fun, as well as teaching empathy. Her stories are filled with “creativity and vivid imagery” and she knows how to “capture the reader’s imagination.”

Her words “truly make the world a happier and more beautiful place!”

Her prolific writing is described as: positive, diverse, crisp, joyful and uplifting.

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. As a winner of the Write Your Own Christie Competition, the Judges “were impressed by her thorough investigation and admired the strength of her narrative; they were impressed by her style”. The judges thought Patricia’s writing style is “well structured, with a great sense of tension and suspense”, “confident and intriguing”. The Judges were Mathew Prichard, David Brawn from Harper Collins UK and Daniel Mallory from Harper Collins US.

Promoting positive news about her home country, Romania, with the hashtag #Im4Ro

When she’s not writing Patricia enjoys reading, researching for forthcoming books and traveling with her family. She never counts how many cups of coffee she enjoys in a day.

Patricia lives happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.


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

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Contemporary Anne Goodwin, #Cancer Miriam Hurdle

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is Matilda Windsor is Coming Home a contemporary novel by Anne Goodwin. A book that I can also recommend

About the book

“In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

A brother and sister separated for fifty years and the idealistic young social worker who tries to reunite them. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

Told with compassion and humour, Anne Goodwin’s third novel is a poignant, compelling and brilliantly authentic portrayal of asylum life, with a quirky protagonist you won’t easily forget. Published by Inspired Quill.”

One of the excellent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Mark Henderson 5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, compassionate and angry  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 May 2022

Set in the time when the old-fashioned long-term mental asylums were being replaced by “care in the community” and more up-to-date hospital accommodation, Anne Goodwin’s Matilda Windsor is Coming Home combines first-hand professional knowledge of the change with empathy for the individuals caught up in it, and a scalpel-sharp evaluation of the officaldom involved. The responses of decent local people to the prospect of a mental health unit being built in their neighbourhood are presented credibly but with fine irony. This is a well written novel, but the delicious touches of humour hardly ameliorate the overarching feelings of compassion and anger.

Matilda (aka Tilly or Matty) has spent half a century in an asylum for “moral turpitude”, controlled by drugs and gradually – or perhaps suddenly – retreating into a fantasy world in which she’s an upper-class lady engaged in war work. Mentally, she hasn’t really passed the time of the Second World War. We’re presented with her troubled younger days during the 1930s and her life in the present, when she faces the prospect of being uprooted from her now “safe” environment thanks to the policy change. How do you “reintegrate” or “normalise” someone with her history? Dr Goodwin’s answer is blunt: you can’t.

Matty’s brother, Henry, to whom she was more mother than sister during his childhood, was permanently damaged when she was taken away and incarcerated. He’s spent his life trying to find her and now despairs of ever being able to do so, though he lives not far away from her. Again the author has a blunt, simple message: it’s not only the people incarcerated in old asylums that were damaged, it’s their families too. The system created rather than mitigated mental health problems.

Janice, a young social worker, is taken on as part of the team that prepares the long-term asylum residents for their “new life in the community”. In 1989 she meets Matty and becomes fascinated by her case and commits herself particularly to helping this “patient”. She runs up against official policy and, finding herself pregnant, is also – in a way – harmed.

The final section of the book, containing an irony worthy of Thomas Hardy, is heart-breaking. Matilda Windsor is Coming Home isn’t light reading, but it packs a powerful punch and stays in the reader’s mind long after the end. 

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

Also by Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin, Buy:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Anne : Goodreads – blog: Annecdotal – Twitter: @Annecdotist

An image posted by the author.

About Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin writes entertaining fiction about identity, mental health and social justice. She is the author of three novels and short story collection published by small independent press, Inspired Quill. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her new novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, is inspired by her previous incarnation as a clinical psychologist in a long-stay psychiatric hospital.

The secon book today is the latest release by Miriam Hurdle… a memoir The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.

About the book

In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.

My review for the book 20th August 2022

This is a brutally honest journal that takes the author from her initial and unexpected diagnosis of a rare cancer, through the gruelling treatment plan and her survival against the odds.

Despite the difficult subject matter, there are many elements in this story that shine through, such as the strength of faith, support of not just extended family but from kind friends within the local church fellowship, and the extraordinary courage it required to keep going despite the trauma.

Not all challenges were medical by nature, as there were hoops to jump through with regards to work, finance and obtaining the necessary approvals from health insurers. This can only have added a layer of stress totally unwelcome on top of the need to be positive about the prognosis.

Family and so many people came together to support, provide transport, meals and after treatment comfort in the form of emails and online messaging. This was a community at its best, and as important as the chemotherapy and surgery were in achieving the final outcome.

Family is key, and the love of her husband and her daughter with her growing family, are clearly a wonderful incentive for Miriam Hurdle to overcome not just the diagnosis and treatment, but the subsequent after effects that still have to be managed.

At the end of the book there are some wonderful photographs of the author and her family travelling around the world, celebrating life to its fullest. Perhaps with a new awareness of just how precious life is and should be celebrated every day.

At times this book lies heavy on the heart, but it is also an uplifting reminder of the human spirit. It is recommended reading for those who may be facing the challenges of cancer treatment to illustrate that there is hope, but also everyone who respects courage in the face of devastating adversity.

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

Also by Miriam Hurdle

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US And:Amazon UK Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle – Blog: The Showers of Blessings – Twitter: @mhurdle112

About Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books… Sally.


Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Historical Aislish Sinclair, #Crime Jane Risdon

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is the historical novel Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair.

About the book

Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…

For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.

Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.

For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.

But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.

Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.

One of the five star reviews for the book and I can add my own recommendation

MacTrish 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written tale with a captivating character at its heart Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 October 2021

Fireflies and Chocolate is a wonderful book that tells the story of Elizabeth Manteith, a titled sixteen-year-old, who is abducted off the streets of Aberdeen in 1743 and taken off to Pennsylvania to work there. These abductions really happened, facilitated by the merchants of the city who were paid for their help.

Elizabeth is gutsy, vulnerable, rash and caring, and her quick wittedness and bravery had me cheering her on from the sidelines. Like her, we are confronted by the harsh realities of life as a slave or indentured labourer and she experiences danger and brutality as she wades in to protect her new-found friends.

There’s also fun and humour in the mix and a romance that grows and develops with the tale. I loved the author’s depiction of the confusion Elizabeth faced regarding her true feelings for Peter, who helped her during the voyage, and for Michael who gave her a job as his cook. I’ll leave you to find out for yourself how that pans out! 

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

Also by Ailish Sinclair

Read the other reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other reviews :Goodreads – Website:Ailish Sinclair – Twitter: @AilishSinclair – Facebook: Ailish Sinclair Author – LinkedIn: Ailish Sinclair

About Ailish Sinclair

Ailish Sinclair trained as a dancer and taught dance for many years, before working in schools to help children with special needs. A short stint as a housekeeper in a castle fired her already keen interest in untold stories of the past and she sat down to research and write.

She now lives beside a loch with her husband and two children where she still dances and writes and eats rather a lot of chocolate.

The next author today is Jane Risdon with her short story collection Undercover Crime Shorts that makes for an interesting read.

About the collection

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

One of the reviews for Undercover Crime Shorts

Oscar McCloud4.0 out of 5 stars Cosy Crime with a bite Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 January 2022

The common theme of these short stories is murder, where the victims apparently deserving their fate as the perpetrators justify their actions.

All the main characters in each of the stories have psychopathic tendencies, but the short narration of the events does not allow their characteristics and backgrounds to be developed. An example is the paranoid diplomat who believes he is the victim of a ‘honey trap.’ I, as the reader, felt he was more of a misogynist and opportunist who covered up serial murders.
I liked the premise of the stories, and found them imaginative and entertaining, all with a bite of incredible plotting.

Murder by Christmas was my favourite. The idea of deciding to murder before you can collect an inheritance is a dilemma. What gives the story intrigue is that the deceased, in her will, had decided she wants rid people in her life whom she disliked. Equally interesting is how easily the perpetrators have no remorse and meticulously kill their victims before they start a new life with their new wealth. The ending left me wondering if I could do the same. (Probably not).

I enjoyed this collection of short fiction. Although on the surface a grim subject, each tale has a mischievous tone, with the narration like cosy crime providing a sense of justice in most cases.

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

Also by Jane Risdon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USBlog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread – Twitter: @Jane_Risdon – Facebook: Jane Risdon – Bookbub: Jane Risdon – WNB Network: Channel 6

About Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, Electric Press, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.

Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site,, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet podcasts including UK Crime Book Club (UKCBC), Donnas Interviews Reviews and Giveaways, and on radio shows such as,, and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Introduction to Literature Class, for second year students from Autumn 2021 for the foreseeable future.

She is the Lead Panellist, March (2022), for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA.

Jane’s latest 100-word piece of Flash Fiction entitled Payback, was read by her for Showboat TV Equinox Online Festival on 25th September as part of the event’s Spoken word segment.

Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series. They were based mostly in Los Angeles and Singapore.

Earlier in her career she also worked for the British Ministry of Defence in Germany, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell.

Jane is represented by Linda Langton of Langton’s International Literary Agency in New York City, New York USA.

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Jane’s post… Sally


Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #CrimeThriller Jaye Marie, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie

Over the course of the summer months I have been sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first author today is Jaye Marie for her crime thriller Cross fire

About the book

DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems.

Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job

A five star review for the book

Aug 11, 2021 Colleen Chesebro rated it five stars it was amazing

DI Snow is ready for retirement until his partner Detective Jim Harris is murdered. This single event sets into motion the department’s hunt for Jim’s killer. When Jim’s replacement, Ruth Winton, shows up, Snow takes an instant dislike to the woman. She seems competent, but there is something about her that rubs Snow the wrong way.

When more bodies start piling up with the same wounds that Jim received, Snow considers the murders are all connected. He knows time is running out to catch the killers, but he has a problem. His health has taken a turn for the worse. If he’s too ill to find the killer, who will?

Leave it to me to start a series with the third book! However, I found “CrossFire” to be a standalone book. There are references to DI David Snow’s other cases, but nothing I couldn’t follow.

The book reminds me of some of the British mysteries I watch on Amazon Prime. As the suspense built, I kept turning pages, eager to find out what happened next. The characters are interesting, with Snow taking on the characteristics of the troubled detective. I found him to be a likable guy. There is great detail paid to the backstory of the murderer, which helped to propel the story forward.

If you like psychological mysteries, this was a good read. I’m excited to read some of this author’s other mysteries. Perhaps I should start with the first book in the series!

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

Also by Jaye Marie

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Jaye Marie : Goodreads – Jaye Marie: WordPress Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2 

About Jaye Marie

Jaye Marie came to writing rather late but has always loved books.

She enjoys reading many different genres, so was surprised to discover a passion for writing detective thrillers. Four of them to date, with more to follow.

She also enjoy running a website/blog and all the wonderful people she continues to meet from all around the world. She learns something new every single day and it is much appreciated.

The second author is Jessica Norrie and I can highly recommend her novel The Magic Carpet.

About The Magic Carpet

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the reviews for The Magic Carpet

Julie Morris 5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking, beautiful, sad, difficult but uplifting story Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 February 2020

This is one of those books that make you glad to be a blogger. You know the ones. The quiet, under-the-radar books that don’t really register on the ‘must-read’ radar. They aren’t the ones that everyone is fighting for a review spot for. The ones with month long tours of five bloggers a day that no one can find anything new to say about it by the end of the tour. This is one of the ones that you volunteer for because it sounds interesting and you have a gap in your schedule. You want to help out the organiser. You pop it in your diary and pretty much forget about it until it comes round in your reading rotation. Then – boom – you realise that you have stumbled on a beautiful gem of a book, a nugget of gold that dropped into your palm unexpectedly and you are so, so glad that you are a book blogger and that has allowed you to discover THIS book, this book that changes the way you think about things, that makes you see the world differently after you’ve read it. This is what makes book blogging such a privilege and a joy.

This book is unassumingly beautiful in so many ways. The construction, following the stories of a community through the alternating voices of different members from different backgrounds and different generations as they work on a school project, works perfectly to give clear voices to the characters. The author makes them all so distinct and believable, by the end I felt like I really knew these people; they were MY friends, MY neighbours, and I just wanted every one of them to get that happy ending. I thought she did such an amazing job of making each voice so authentic, really capturing the difference in the thought processes and speech of the children, parents and grandparents. It’s obvious that she has spent a lot of time observing characters and understanding them.

This is the story of our changing society. Of how we are trying to assimilate different cultures, backgrounds and faiths and re-weaving the tapestry of our country to accommodate the changes they bring. It reflects the difficulties this can bring, the misunderstanding and isolation this can cause for people of all backgrounds, how sometimes we fail, how some people resist but, underlying it all there is a strong vein of kindness and compassion in most people. This book is so relevant to these difficult and turbulent times in which we currently find ourselves, when it is so easy to believe the world has become a dark and unfriendly place. This book, with its message of hope is a welcome beacon, and I do firmly believe that, for the most part, the majority of us are these kind, compassionate, empathetic and tolerant people portrayed, despite the volume of protest we often hear. For the sake of my children, I so desperately want this to be true.

Throughout the book, the author gives light to a range of difficulties facing these families, which are sometimes hard to read. Domestic violence, racism and prejudice, abuse, isolation, bereavement. Unpleasant topics, but ones that people struggle with daily, often in silence, and these are things that can be affecting children in school, regardless of whether people know about them or not. One of the issues explored is how problems that parents are struggling with but believe they are hiding from their children can have a profound effect on the child. Children are acutely aware and sensitive and, regardless of whether adults speak openly about their problems or not, they cannot fail to be affected. The book illustrates this beautifully and, I hope, it will make more adults think about how they address problems with their children. It is difficult to know how much children should be exposed to, and the book acknowledges and explores that dilemma, but it is impossible to shield them completely.

The underlying message of this story is that, underneath colour and nationality and religion, we have so much more in common that we have differences and the exercise of having the children retell fairy stories, using their own words, demonstrates how our stories have so many overlaps and common themes. People are people the world over and, going back, have the same fears and problems, joys and successes and have used stories to record these. I thought this was such a clever and success motif to get across the point. If we allow ourselves to see it, there is more that binds us than divides us and as a society we need to highlight these similarities, rather than focus on our differences.

I am so happy that this book crossed my path. It is a thought-provoking, beautiful, sad, difficult but uplifting story and I would urge everyone to read it. It deserves a huge audience. 

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

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Jessica Norrie, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPress Goodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie

About Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs. A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching creatively in multicultural schools, was published in July 2019, and she is working on a third. She divides her time between London and Malvern, blogging, singing soprano, and walking in the forest and hills.

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



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up- 22nd – 28th September 2022 – #IrishDNA, Pavarotti, #Waterford, Empaths, #Obesity Podcast, Poetry, Book Reviews, Afternoon Videos

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

I hope your week has gone well. The house decoration is still going well and still waiting for return calls from outside contractors to come in to do some maintenance work but hopeful that will be done in the next couple of weekends.

Genetic update

I received my annual Ancestry update which proved very interesting. Millions will have uploaded their DNA in the last 12 months and it means that my own DNA has been updated based on their results. As you can see from the first image, I am definitely a mongrel! What is intersting is that for the first time my Irish and Welsh ancestry exceeds my English.

My nordic bloodline has also expanded and this is probably because my Irish genes have been identified across a wider area of the South East of the country, up the West as far as Galway. The Vikings were all over the area in those days and I imagine a fair bit of pillaging went on if you know what I mean…

Also on my father’s side on the East Coast of England where raids from the Northmen were frequent. He was tall and blonde as a young man and I can definitely see that genetic link in him.

Anyway here are some graphics…

My husband is going to be joining the fun with his own DNA and it will be interesting as his family all originate from the same area. I wonder if paths were crossed at some point by our ancestors in the last two hundred years or are we even distantly related?

Just a reminder that if you have a new book coming out in the next six to eight weeks either on pre-order or available on Amazon do let me know if we have not already chatted about a promotion for it.

Contributor News this week.

This week William Price King joined me for The Breakfast Show and shared second post in the life and music of the great Pavarotti. The Breakfast Show will cover the hits to 2005 and then we thought that as there are now so many different music genres we might go retro and cover the chart hits of the 1940s and 1950s until the end of the year. Prepare to get your swing and jive on. Next year we will be covering the Big Band Era from the 1930s through to the 1950s and it is amazing that I am able to find videos going back to the early 30s and some are even remastered which is great. We are both looking forward to that and hope you will enjoy too.You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ interviews Martha Perez​ about her life, love of books and stories from childhood.. an inspiring Q&A and introduction to Martha’s many books available on Amazon including Kindle Vella. Debby Gies Q & A with Martha Perez – Debby also reviews The Catalyst a thriller by Joy Lennick for her Sunday feature and highly recommends. Catch up on her other posts D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor will be here on Wednesday with her next A-Z of food with the letter ‘F’… a wonderful exploration of food. Carol also took her slow cooker on the road as a guest of Willow Croft for her series Eco-Tuesday. Carol shares her love of food markets and her passion for food sustainability and conservation. Willow Croft and Carol Taylor Eco-Tuesday On Carol’s own blog Monday Musings and using plastic in your microwave, Homemade chicken stew, the cuisine of Ecuador and a review of aromatic leaves..You can catch up with all the posts this week Carol Taylor’s Weekly Round Up

Thanks too for all your visits, comments and shares this week… they mean a great deal..♥

 On with the show…..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 2002 Part One – Nickelback, Ashanti, Las Ketchup, Kelly Clarkson

William Price King meets the Music Legends – #Classical – Luciano Pavarotti – The 1960s and Joan Sutherland

Spiritual Awareness -How Empaths Can Shield Negative Energies by D.G. Kaye

Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Rosary 1955

Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford – How I met Joan by Geoff Cronin

Podcast – #Poetry – #DoubleEtheree The Robin -Size Doesn’t Matter by Sally Cronin

Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity – #Emotional Factors, Developing Willpower by Sally Cronin

Making Your Mark – Leaving a Legacy – And then… A Grand Exit That’ll Have Their Tongues Waggin’ by Peter Davidson

New Book on the Shelves -#Pre-order August 25th – #Fantasy – The Necromancer’s Daughter by D.Wallace Peach

– #Romance – Wrong Line, Right Connection by Karina Bartow

#GymAnnoyances #Toptenthings John W. Howell

#FlashFiction #Poetry by D.Wallace Peach

#TopTenThings – Gwen Plano by Marcia Meara

#Family #Wildlife by Pete Springer

‘Potluck – Lord of the Rings #Tolkien by Audrey Driscoll

#Poetry – #Earthday by Miriam Hurdle

First in Series – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #NorthernIreland #Thriller Jane Buckley

Sally goes out and about with with Judith Barrow, #review Olga Nunez Miret, #Monarchs Bette A. Stevens, #Marketing D.L. Finn, #Family Kit Troyer



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

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – First in Series – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #NorthernIreland #Thriller Jane Buckley

Over the course of the next three months I will be sharing the authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf with the books that I have reviewed and can personally recommend.

Time to catch up with books that are the first in a series along with one of their five star reviews. I hope that this will encourage you to enjoy the series in full. I will feature every author on the shelves by the end of the summer. I hope you will enjoy.

The first author today has created a series that combine family and mystery located in a college town that you begin to think of as home. James J. Cudney also has written some compelling family sagas and I have enjoyed his books in both genres. Braxton Campus Mysteries, Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

About Academic Curveball

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents.

One of the over 380 reviews for Academic Curveball

Pete Springer 4.0 out of 5 stars A Murder Mystery with Plenty of Likely Suspects  Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2022

Kellan Ayrwick has a complicated relationship with his father, a university professor who is about to retire. While Kellan is there to join in his father’s retirement, he also makes arrangements to meet Abby Monroe to get some information for the crime television show that Kellan works on. Before he can interview her and get her notes, Abby is found dead. After Chief Montague determines that it was murder, Kellan gets more involved in helping to try and solve the mystery.

It seems everywhere Kellan turns, there are possible suspects. There are love interests, jealousy, plenty of motives, and a host of fascinating characters to draw his attention. One of the underlying controversies at Braxton has to do with the number of dollars that the sports programs are getting. Two of the star athletes on the baseball team and the coach seem to be involved in some conflict/scandal to try and receive a contract from a baseball scout. Before that mystery is solved, a second person is found dead.

Having read two of James Cudney’s other books, I was looking forward to this read. What I liked the most were the interesting storylines that made so many characters possible suspects. If anything, there were almost too many people to keep track of, but I was engaged the entire time. The ending leads one to believe another book is sure to follow.  

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

A selection of books by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US and: Amazon UKWebsite/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney – Twitter: @Jamescudney4

About James J. Cudney

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I began working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment, media, retail, and hospitality industries. Although I enjoy my job, I also want to re-focus on my passions: telling stories and connecting people through literature.

In 2017, I published my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. The sequel, Hiding Cracked Glass, released exactly three years later in 2020. I’ve also written another family drama novel, Father Figure, and created the Braxton Campus Mysteries, a light investigation series about a humorous thirty-something guy dealing with murders and the drama of a small town. I am currently co-authoring a book with a surprise writer and finalizing the next Braxton Campus Mystery, both released in mid 2021.

The next author today is Jane Buckley who writes thrillers set in the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, sharing the challenges and dangers facing families and those on all sides of the conflict. Here is the first book in a four part series.. Stones Corner: Turmoil

About the book

Be warned! Stones Corner Turmoil is a gruelling read. It’s harsh but importantly truthful and objective. If you love a terrific thriller with individual stories that form a cataclysmic ending then this book is for you! At the same time, learn what everyday life was REALLY like in Derry during those dark, harsh times.

Caitlin McLaughlin is just like any other teenage girl: during the week she works at the Rocola shirt factory in Stones Corner, Creggan where she has become secretary to her boss’s dishy nephew James. At the weekend she likes music and trips into the city with her best friend, but this is Derry 1972. A simple trip to the shops can lead to life-changing injuries or death and staying at home can be just as dangerous when the British Troops raid house to house .

Robert Sallis is a private with the Royal Fusiliers recently posted to the city. He’s repelled by the way some of his fellow soldiers behave; wary too of civilian feelings running high against the occupying army. Accidentally separated from his patrol in Creggan, he’s discovered by Caitlin hiding in her family’s garden. He expects the worse but having seen enough violence too close to home, she doesn’t give him away. Instead she prefers to daydream about her charming boss who has made his feelings for her plain. A Catholic girl from the Bogside and the Protestant heir to a big local employer….

In her youthful innocence, Caitlin believes their love can overcome the triple obstacles of politics, class and faith. Meanwhile Robert, newly recruited to British undercover forces, is closing in on a terrorist strike in the heart of the city centre.

My review for the book 28th December 2021

The author gives a warning in the blurb about what a reader can expect in her debut novel set in Derry, Northern Ireland during one of the darkest years in the province’s history. The book delivers the reasons for that warning with chilling effect, bringing home the reality that this was a part of the United Kingdom, experiencing civil war within the last 50 years. The ripples of this violent outcome to the separation of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and its issues of belief and inequality, spread devastatingly outwards from the province; at times devastatingly.

When extremism on both sides of the divide are intent on winning, those innocents caught up in the turmoil are at the greatest risk, and when an outside force such as the British army are brought in, it adds fuel to the fire. The author creates that atmosphere of everyday fear and loss with great skill.

At the heart of this turmoil are young men and women who are vulnerable to manipulation by the fanatics, and imprisoned by age old segregation between religions and class.

Inhumane treatment of individuals, bombings resulting in mass casualties of innocents, illicit love affairs, revenge, espionage and poverty all combine to break the spirit of those who can see no end to the deprivation and conflict.

The author has created characters that will haunt you and some who inspire. Despite the environment, good people try to find comfort in their lives, falling in love across the divide and working to bring peace and stability.  As the story moves forward they all come together centred on an event which will impact all of them and the future of the city.

This intiguing thriller delivers a great deal in terms of the writing, characters, storyline and expectations and I highly recommend the book. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series soon.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Paperback: Jane Buckley Writes

Also by Jane Buckley

Connect to Jane Buckley: Jane Buckley Writes – Author Page: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USFollow Jane:Goodreads – Facebook:Jane Buckley Writes – Twitter:@janebuckley_sc  

About Jane Buckley

Jane Buckley has been an avid reader all her life and if the opportunity had existed when she was younger would have loved to become a journalist. She began writing her first novel in 2017 but put the manuscript away in a drawer for a couple of years.

Jane used the lockdown period to finish the book – now ‘Stones Corner: Turmoil’ – and describes the writing experience as her ‘salvation’ during the pandemic.

Jane lives just outside Derry, Northern Ireland. She is married to John and has two daughters Cassie who lives in Oxford and Maggie who lives in Auckland NZ with grandchildren Charlie and Alba.

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

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Romance Ritu Bhathal, #Mystery Lisette Brodey

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is a lovely and engaging romance that I can recommend, Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal.

About the book

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set. Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

One of over 100 great reviews for the book

It was such an incredible new experience of a rainbow! I absolutely loved Aashi, Kiran, Bali, Sunny and Arjun’s journey from UK to India and back to UK. I have to say that I’ve been a fan of Bollywood since many years ago and thought I know a lot of Indian culture, traditions but what I didn’t know is that there were quite huge blank spots in my ‘knowledge’ that has been now filled with colours, smells, sounds, feels and taste of FOOD(!!!) of REAL India and Indians living both abroad and in India by talented author Ritu Bhathal and her first book Marriage Unarranged! Thank you, Ritu, for giving me this wonderful experience I so missed.

Clean romcom, amazing story, well developed and colourful characters, lots of humorous momments with giggles, history, culture and traditions. Loved how author merged modern tendencies with still strong traditional Indian culture both influencing younger generation.
I’m so glad knowing that there would be more books to enjoy!
Okay, now go and get your copy of this amazing book!!!

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

Also by Ritu Bhathal

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK  and : Amazon US- Blog: Ritu Bhathal WordPress Follow Ritu: Goodreads – Twitter: @RituBhathal

About Ritu Bhathal

Ritu was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was recently awarded The Best Overall Blog Award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2017.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the furbaby Sonu Singh.

The next book today is by Lisette Brodey…the mysterious The Waiting House: A Novel in Stories.

About the Book

From the author of Hotel Obscure

Once an opulent hotel for lovers of the Hollywood lifestyle, today the imposing building survives, somewhere, as an apartment house for those who wait. Not all know what they’re waiting for, but the residents live in flawed concert with those of undetermined existence, among relics of the past, as they wait for answers, for lost loved ones, and for purpose.

While the stories feature different characters, many of whom are recurring, each tale couples with its own unique reality … and is narrated by Conrad, the “grand master.” There is an overall story arc: part literary fiction, part Twilight Zone … both with a healthy dose of dark humor.

If you step inside, you’ll meet Ava Elisabeth, now in her 80s. After 40 years in Paris, she has returned. But why? Darah, the owner, is tormented by the sudden reappearance of her estranged mother, Millicent.

Kenny finds a way to overcome the despair of his missing wife. Fiona lives in the shadow of her once-famous, movie-star mother. Former Santa, Alejandro, punishes himself with solitude and sadness. A disturbed woman, Carolyn, waits for her TV prince to come. And Lee is tortured by random people who slide down walls near his fourth-floor apartment. Under the same roof, each soul has a different story … but all live in The Waiting House.

One of the reviews for the book

Anne Simone 5.0 out of 5 stars Erudite story-telling by a master!  Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2022

The Waiting House by Lisette Brodey is a character-driven story that covers, in exceptional prose, all who dwell between reality and fantasy. These connected narratives and intertwined tales are part dream world. Or perhaps the lodgers exist in a no man’s land—the structure that is the “waiting house.” Some are influenced by a hallucinatory condition and if you are of a delicate, sensitive, and empathetic nature, you might get spooked right along with them.

The author makes sure that you must continue reading, turning pages rapidly, to solve the intricate little mysteries, the connective tissue of each individual person and the whole story.

I wish to congratulate Brodey, an intellectual yet natural story-teller. She captivates fragments of the human condition and expresses them in a most unique setting.

I find this kind of novel structure the most difficult to manage, yet she does it with aplomb! The book is all-embracing and conjoins many genres: biography, memoir, magic realism, and in a sense “märchen” (or fantastic folk tale). Reading this is an inimitable experience and I recommend it wholeheartedly! 

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

A selection of books by Lisette Brodey

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Lisette: Goodreads – Website/blog: Lisette Brodey – Twitter: @LisetteBrodey – Facebook: Lisette.Brodey

About Lisette Brodey

Lisette was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She spent ten years in New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles.

She’s a multi-genre author of nine novels and one short story collection: Crooked Moon (General/Literary Fiction); Squalor, New Mexico (Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction); Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), The Desert Series: Mystical High; Desert Star; and Drawn Apart (YA paranormal/magical realism), Barrie Hill Reunion (Literary Fiction); Hotel Obscure: A Collection of Short Stories (Literary Fiction), Love, Look Away (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), and The Sum of our Sorrows (Contemporary Fiction.)

In addition to her nine novels and one short story collection, two more of Lisette’s short stories are published in an anthology: Triptychs (Book 3, The Mind’s Eye Series.)


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


Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Crimethriller Carol Balawyder, #Thriller #Haiti Mark Bierman

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first featured author today is Carol Balawyder – with her coming of age crime thriller...Just Before Sunrise

About the book

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.

But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…

Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.

She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.

As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.

Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.

One of the reviews for the book

Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars The twisted turns of love  Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2021

Carol Balawyder’s Just Before Sunrise (2021) is the story of a wealthy older man who marries a former owner of a high priced call girl business (which is how the two met). Nadine accepts this proposal as her chance to escape her past life but soon realizes (shock!) that he is not the knight in shining armor she had hoped for. It isn’t long before she dislikes him as much as he disrespects her. She is a master of manipulating men–

“Nadine had the kind of body you read about in pulp fiction novels”

So she persuades the older man’s thirty-something son–Charlie–to help her kill him so the two can be together. To cover their tracks, they involve a recently homeless and orphaned teen–Maya–who has been entrusted with the job of preparing a lakefront home to be used as a halfway house which happens to be next door to Carlie’s home. Maya falls for Charlies and not-so-reluctantly agrees to help him cover up the murder. If you read “cover up” as “take the blame for the homicide”, you have the gist of what will happen.

Tangentially, thirty-something Adam falls in love with an older woman (the same one who hires Maya to fix up the home) but leaves her because he wants children and she doesn’t. That sounds simple but it sure isn’t. You’ll see when you read it. The overlap between these two plots is clever and intriguing.

At its core, this is a love story but filled with hate and lies and hurt feelings and unusual events and so much more. Love in this book isn’t a synonym for blissfully happy or the answer to dreams. In this case, it’s more fake than real but young Maya doesn’t realize that.

A clever, enticing read that you won’t want to stop once you start. Recommended for those who like unusual love stories that are darker than cozy but still fulfilling.  

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

A selection of books by Carol Balawyder

Read reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews : Goodreads – WebsiteCarol BalawyderLinkedIn: Carol Balawyder – Facebook: Carol Balawyder

About Carol Balawyder

I hold an undergraduate degree with a major on English Literature and a graduate degree in Criminology. I taught Criminology in Police Technology and Corrections programs in Montreal. My area of expertise was in drug addiction and I worked in a methadone clinic with heroin addicts. I helped set up a writing workshop for women in prison and worked in halfway homes and drug rehab centers.

My short stories have appeared in Room Magazine, The Canadian Anthology of Fiction, Mindful.or, Between the Lines and Carte Blanche. I was awarded an honorary mention for a play submitted to The Canadian Playwright Competition.

I manage a blog where I write about: Women Nobel Prize Winners for Literature, Famous Writers’ Desks, Femmes Fatales, India, Book Reviews and my dog, Bau. Carol Balawyder Blog

The next book today is that I have read and can recommend is Vanished the debut thriller set in Haiti by Mark Bierman.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Beem Weeks 5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Look at Reality  Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2022

John and Tyler arrive in Haiti on a missionary trip. Their goal is to help with the construction of a much-needed orphanage on the island. But the men soon learn of the terrible dark underbelly of life in the Caribbean nation. The scourge of human trafficking soon invades their insulated world when a young girl they’ve come to know is taken. The two men decide the only thing to do is find the child and reunite her with her mother. Obstacles and hazards attempt to thwart the pair with life and death situations. The action is rapid and harrowing throughout.

Human trafficking is a dark subject—no matter the area of our world in which you live. Author Mark Bierman tackles this story with an eye on reality. He digs deep into the human psyche and sheds a light on monsters that are always close by. Vanished is one of those reads that will open your eyes and give you reason to re-think your comfortable lives. This one is worth a read. 

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

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

About Mark Bierman

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman’s childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non.

Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this “country boy” to life in the big cities.

After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UKFollow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor



Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Children’s #Jungle Joyce Murphy, #Mystery Elizabeth Merry

Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is Kong and the Magic Jungle by Joyce Murphy

About the book

After a very bumpy plane crash, Joyce aged 8, Olan aged 7 and Fiona aged 4 are stranded in the jungle with their Dad. And it is a magic jungle where animals can talk and gorillas live in villages and there even a Magic Gorilla living there or so their friend Billy, the parrot says.

Joyce and Olan are so excited that they go off looking for the Magic Gorilla. On the way they have lots of adventures, with a baby gorilla and some missing bananas, a very angry Mama Gorilla and soon they are in trouble with a whole lot of other gorillas as well.

Will their friend Billy, the talking parrot and Fiona save them in time or will the nice gorilla with the red hat help them? Come and enter into the adventure and see what happens to the three madcap children and their best friend, Kong the Magic Gorilla.

A review for Kong and the Magic Jungle

Barry m.5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 May 2021

I bought this book for my nephew 9 years and my niece 7 years. They both loved it and their mother said they have reread it more than once. I read the story myself, being pulled in by the fun image on the front cover and found it funny, exciting and endearing. It is a fast moving adventure story of three children living in the jungle but the main protagonists are Joyce and Olan aged 7 and 8 and their friend the Magic Gorilla. The children explore the jungle and make friends with the talking animals living there; they get into fun scrapes, learn some lessons and get gifts along the way. It really is a breath of fresh air and a great story for boys and girls alike.  

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

Also by Joyce Murphy

Read the reviews and buy both children and poetry books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – follow Joyce: Goodreads – Blog: Joycie Reilly Poetry – Twitter: @JoycieReilly

About Joyce Murphy

I have been a scribbler all my life. We didn’t have money for writing paper in my house so I scribbled stories and poems on anything I could get my hands on. Wherever scribbling material was to be found, I wrote on it. This included between the lines of my Enid Blyton books, the white top and bottom margins of my parent’s ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Coat’ program, bits of copybook paper and even blank pages torn from other books.

The poems found in my book, ‘Inner Rumblings,’ were written on small pieces of paper, torn out copybook pages and even on blank pages at the end of my biology book – lack of paper was never going to stop my urge to write.

My goal is to inspire joy and play in children and help them discover themselves and their world through story. To this end I also use my poetry and poems to run adult creative voice workshops. I am a proud self-published author with a unique vision of the world and our place in it. A love of animals and the environment is close to my heart and also runs through my stories for small children. I am also a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.

The next book is one I enjoyed reading last year…a mystery for younger readers Felix Finds Out by Elizabeth Merry

About Felix Finds Out

Hennessy is the school caretaker. He is also a devious thief and a bully. Felix is ten years old, a quiet boy, and small for his age. How is he to find out what Hennessy is up to? ‘Felix wondered where Hennessy was. As he thought of the tall figure in the heavy anorak, his mouth went suddenly dry, his heart leaping and banging, his whole face squeezed up with frowns.’But when a new girl arrives at the school, Felix watches her closely; this could change everything. She might suit as an accomplice.'”Hello, I’m Samantha. Is your name really Felix? That’s a good name, I think.”‘Can Felix and his new friend find out what Hennessy is up to, and save Uncle Eddie’s job? Samantha has a plan!

My review for the book July 14th 2021

I stepped back in time to my childhood and my enjoyment of the adventures of The Famous Five and The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton.

Felix Finds Out is a full length novel for slightly older children and adults who wish to revisit the enjoyment of reading a well written adventure containing all the classic elements needed such as realistic plot, wonderful characters, heroes and villains, and a wicked witch….of sorts.

I loved the individual natures of the co-conspirators, on a mission to discover what the school caretaker has been up to, which might have a disastrous knock on effect on Felix’s future. The group grows from the solitary Felix anxious to hide his family situation, to include Samantha the worldly planner, shy Hubert who is the technical support and Joanne, slight but feisty.

This intrepid band of crime fighters are putting themselves at risk but at the same time forming a friendship that will strengthen them all for the potentially dangerous climax to the story.

The author writes with flow and clearly knows the minds of children and young teens caught between being a child and a young adult with all the angst that goes with it. Elizabeth Merry evolves the characters over the story giving them plenty of opportunity to grow and shine.

A very enjoyable read I have no hesitation in recommending the book.

Other books by Elizabeth Merry.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Elizabeth: Goodreads Blog: Embookstuff WordPress – Twitter: @ElizabethMerry1

About Elizabeth Merry

Elizabeth Merry was born in Bangor, Co Down in the province of Ulster but has spent most of her life in Co Dublin. She has been writing for many years and has previously published a novel for children and many short stories. “We All Die in the End” is a series of interlinked “scenes” set in a seaside town on the Ulster coast where most people know each other. It is a book filled with miserable couples, meddling siblings, or individuals struggling to survive. Some of the “scenes” are twisted, some are macabre, and more than a few deal with abusive relationships. But there is joy here too, and a lot of dark humour.

Elizabeth has recently published a collection of poetry, much of which has been published over the years in literary magazines. Also two children’s books, Ghost’s in Trouble and Felix Finds Out.


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