Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry Frank Prem, #Africa #Flyingboats Jemima Pett


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 poetry collection by Frank Prem – The Garden Black and other speculations (Free Verse Poetry) –

About the book

The Garden Black poetry collection is a venture into fantasy and speculative fiction based on the dual themes of rain forest and fantasy.

. The rainforest becomes a desert, and then the sea.

. A man in a satellite orbits the earth while playing his violin and pondering. A girl gazes up at the passing light and dances.

. Od Ovo – a youth who is from here, raises the dust of frustrated boredom on a mining asteroid, and cannot believe traveller tales of places where water falls from the sky.

. What colour are the flowers in the Reaper’s garden? They are all colours . . . They are black.

Welcome to the speculative fantasies that are The Garden Black.

One of the reviews for the collection

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Speculative Fantasy poetry  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 May 2022

Thank you to poet Frank Prem for an advanced copy of The Garden Black. It seemed the perfect opportunity yesterday to read this poetry collection while I was relaxing on a beach! It’s a little different from some of Frank’s other collections with a speculative fantasy vibe to it. Being a keen fantasy reader and author I enjoyed it. Frank’s free verse form of poetry is always a delight, easy to read and enjoy and reflect upon.

My favourite poems with their titles below:

I who am, (I liked this for its references to: wind, sun, dark, soil, leaf, bough, root, bark, sap, wood, tree!)
the hunter writes a letter
swell, (this poem relates swimming to driving!)
storm and the sea (bubbles of foam)
I dig (a forest)
it is not clear (from the dream below)
a song for the (far) horizon
a line of destiny
pain control
garden black
isosceles and me (and the war over the pond,) – very unusual but in a good way!
davey’s interview (pre-recorded)
in the stone: through the water
a song for the (deep) horizon
the second beat. 

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon AUAnd: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US –And:Amazon UK – Website:Frank Prem – Goodreads:Goodreads – Twitter:@frank_prem – YouTube:Frank Prem’s Channel

About Frank Prem

Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet since his teenage years. He has been a psychiatric nurse through all of his professional career, which now exceeds forty years.

He has been published in magazines, online zines and anthologies in Australia, and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as spoken word.

He lives with his wife in the beautiful township of Beechworth in North East Victoria, Australia.

The second book today is the biography of Geoffrey Pett, a pioneer flying boat establishment in Africa in the 1930s and during the second world war. Written by Jemima Pett from recordings made by her father, White Water Landings.

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

About the book

The silver bird straightened up and sank lower, lower, until it met the sea with a sleek spray that rushed past the windows in its fuselage. M’beriali – the imperial mail bird, as it became known in Swahili – had arrived!

Imperial Airways’ man at Lindi, East Africa, was Geoffrey Pett, then just 22 years old. Selected as a Commercial Trainee aged eighteen, he was posted to the middle of Africa to look after the ground arrangements for the new ‘Empire’ Flying Boat Service between London and Cape Town/Durban. His Africa postings ranged between Alexandria, Egypt, on the Mediterranean coast, Juba, now in South Sudan, and Butiaba on Lake Albert, Uganda. His war years were as traffic superintendant at Cairo (and at RAF Wadi Saidna, Sudan), handling troop movements and other priority personnel on the civilian aircraft, as well as ensuring the ‘Horseshoe Route’ between South Africa and Australia operated at its turning point, Cairo. His career continued with the new British Overseas Airways Company, through BEA into British Airways, until ill-health retirement in 1968.

Geoffrey was often sought out for his memoirs of Imperial Airways in Africa. After his death in 2005, he left a box of memorabilia including his photograph album and a set of tapes dictated between 1995 and 2004. His daughter, J M Pett, has laboured over the contents, producing this book to place the information out in the wider world. More content and links to archive material are on the website Geoffrey’s Box WordPress

Praise for White Water Landings:
a remarkable and significant piece of aviation and colonial history… shining through his memoirs is a capacity to ‘make do’…, and the sense of the Imperial ‘family’ as a source of identity, support and obligation away from home. … he reveals anxiety and frustration,cynicism for arbitrary authority… Told fondly, plainly and modestly, with touches of humour, Geoffrey’s story reads easily and lingers long. The text is equally delightful as family history, autobiography, and colonial history.” — Professor Gordon Pirie, Deputy Director of the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, and Editor of the Journal of Transport History

“The romance of the Golden Age of flying meets the romance of two people torn apart by war.”

My review for White Water Landings February 9th 2022

As we hop on and off planes with destinations around the globe, we rarely think further than checking the timings and paying with our credit card. Most long distance flights are non-stop and it is now something we very much take for granted.

Imagine you need to make the trip from the UK to Capetown by air in 1936. It would have required several short hops by flying boat down across Europe to the top of Africa and then to several refuelling stops set up on the coast or rivers over the 3,500 miles to the tip of the continent.

This biography of the young Geoffrey Pett is fascinating, both from a historical perspective and also because of his passion and perserverance in setting up these isolated and sometimes dangerous stations along the route.

Geoffrey was clearly adaptable and resourceful, making connections both with local residents and those from other companies and the military that passed through his care. Whilst his mandate was to establish the stations for Imperial Airways, he understood the benefits of working well with others. It was complex with very basic communications to maintain contact with aircraft to ensure safety and a rigid schedule that had to be met to ensure continuity of flights across the length and breadth of Africa.

As you read the story, it is easy to imagine you are sitting across from a natural storyteller listening to his adventures. And there are plenty of those including following hippo tracks to access suitable river landing sites, hauling barges and launches hundreds of miles across country and upriver that were virtually unnavigable. Dealing with some quirky passengers unaccustomed to rudimentary overnight facilities, dealing with snake-bites, and those who have enjoyed the hospitality a little too vigorously.

It is also a love story, and how the ingenuity and tenacity that Geoffry applied to his job, was put to good use as he masterminds a trip to reach the girl he loves in Uganda, marry her, take a honeymoon and be back by an almost impossible return to work date.

The author has done a great job in transcribing the recordings made by her father, keeping the authenticity of his narration and adding in helpful links between stories. Jemima Pett also shares her parent’s life after the war including Geoffrey’s contintued career in aviation.

Recommended for history lovers, aviation buffs, and those who enjoy finding out about ordinary people leading an extraordinary life.

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

A selection of books by Jemima Pett

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Blog:Jemima PettGoodreads:Jemima Pett – Twitter:@jemima_pett –

About Jemima Pett

When I discovered the words ‘portfolio career’ I realised I was trendsetter – having not only a number of different jobs, but in totally different fields. These included social work, business management, computer technology, environmental research. The thread running through all of them was communication – and that continued in my spare time with writing and editing club magazines, manuals, reports… I loved words, loved to learn and to apply my learning to the real world.

Eventually the world just wasn’t big enough, and so I went back to inventing my own, as I had as a child. First came the Realms, the setting for the ten-book Princelings of the East series. It’s a feudal England run by princes in castles who just happen to be guinea pigs – although you can read them as people equally well. Then came the Viridian System, a planetary area on the outskirts of known space where a frontier mentality mixes with big business and tourism.

I wrote some shorter stories featuring characters from the Princelings series, recently published as Messenger Misadventures. This features Dylan and Dougall, and their friend Deirdre, who unfortunately did not feature with them in Book 8 of the Princelings series. Two more characters that are asking for their own book are Roscoe and Neville, who turn up in book 10.

2021 saw the publication of five short story collections. Most of these originally appeared on my blog between 2012 and 2020, but are no longer there. Several new stories appear, especially in the seasonal special Snowflakes and Shivers. I still blog short stories, usually once a week.

The third and final Viridian System book was published in Feb 22. There’s a snippet at the end of that which may lead to another scifi story, but not set in the Viridian System.

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

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – August 1st – 7th 2022 – Hits 2000, Nina Simone, #Waterford, #Nutrition, Podcast, Book Reviews, Health and Humour


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

I hope you have had a great week.. The sun has been shining most days and this has meant that the last of the outside jobs on the house are well underway. Water has been a great attraction for the birds who already enjoy their outsize bathing trays that can hold a flock of starlings at one time. If there is a crow investigating ways to get into the bird feed pyramid we have built they seem to perform a synchronised Haka facing the intruder from the safety of the pool. Very entertaining and effective.

Charlie the crow is exempt from this behaviour and I do think they sense that his permanent disability of being unable to open his beak very wide makes him a non-threat. I had some double cream that had gone sour… and I know a certain someone who is very partial to a bit of dairy for some reason. I managed to catch Charlie in the act as he polished off the small tub ending up with the evidence all over his face.

Anyway they do provide plenty of entertainment through the kitchen window or if I am sitting in the sunshine. Apparently I am not a threat either and they chatter incessantly amongst themselves about the standard of the food and facilities… thank goodness they cannot access Tripadvisor.

As always my thanks to William Price King, currently on his summer break for the Breakfast Show and the life of Nina Simone. You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies is back tomorrow morning with a brand new series exploring our spiritual well being.. Over on her blog you can you can enjoy her Sunday Review for Diamonds are for Now by Ruth Harris..and a lovely heartwarming tribute to her husband G’s sense of humour… head over to D.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor  was here on Wednesday with an exploration of foods and culinary terms in her terrific series A-Z of foods with the letter D. This week on her own blog you can enjoy her Monday Musings, Chicken Recipes, Green Kitchen and Saturday Snippets.. all about the word ‘Tickle’. 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 2000s Part Two – Lone Star, Savage Garden, Anastacia, The Corrs

William Price King meets the Music Legends – Nina Simone – Part Four – The 1970s

Size Matters: The Sequel – #Morbid Obesity, #CandidaAlbicans Part Two by Sally Cronin

Alexander Defender of Men part two

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – ‘D’ for Dates, Dragon Fruit, Drupes, Durian and Dirty Rice.

#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – James the Landlord 1939 by Geoff Cronin

#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – Work on a Timber Gang – 1942 by Geoff Cronin plus an audio extra

#WWII #Family – Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney

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Posts from Your Archives 2022 – ‘Potluck’ – #Family #Storytelling by Jennie Fitzkee

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! – Guest Round Up – Part One – Claire Fullerton, Noelle Granger, Pete Johnson, Sharon Marchisello, Jane Risdon, Balroop Singh, Pete Springer, Carol Taylor D.Wallace Peach, Sue Wickstead

#Romance #Comingofage – Hope at the Ocean’s Edge by Chantal MacDonald

#Cancer – The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle

Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Flash #Life Pamela S. Wight, #Thriller Simon Van der Velde

#Ireland #Music #Romance Claire Fullerton, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau

#Teaching Pete Springer, #Poetry Balroop Singh

#Interview Marcia Meara and D.G. Kaye, #Bookreviewing Robbie Cheadle, Jacqui Murray, Alison Williams, #Fear Cheryl Oreglia

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Masks and Funfair spells

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Tech Support and Crafty Poodles

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead… and if you have time to visit me that would be lovely… Sally.

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Teaching Pete Springer, #Poetry Balroop Singh


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 author is retired elementary teacher and blogger Pete Springer with a book that shares his experience as a teacher and the bond he formed with his students.

About the book

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model.

This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. –Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)

One of the reviews for the book that I can also recommend

Pete Springer’s memoir about his first years teaching is a delightful story for new teachers and will have experienced educators nodding along with him. His early experiences remind all of us of the joy inherent in teaching:

“This job required about as much brainpower as my tree planting experience.”
“This is the story of how I fell in love with teaching and the joys and challenges that this noble profession provided to me over the course of thirty-one years.”

He breaks the book into chapters every teacher will understand:

How did i get here
Setting up your classroom
Working with students
Working with colleagues
Working with your boss
Discipline

…and more. Aside from grading, parents, lunch duty, conferences, and yard duty, these are the biggest issues we teachers face. I’m a veteran teacher of thirty years and still I couldn’t wait to read Pete’s take on these timeless issues.

“Instead of saying, “Do everything my way, and you can become a successful teacher,” she was giving me her permission to find my way.”
“…storytelling was one of the most successful methods to get my students to pay attention.”
“…when we lose our calm, we are teaching them that it is okay to behave in this manner when something is not going right.”

Every new teacher will benefit from Pete’s daily experiences of what in the end results in a journey well traveled with more importance than most of us would car eto admit. Educational philosophies change. Favorite tools like iPads and Chromebooks change. What never changes is the fundamentals that Pete covers in this book:

“…tell the kids when I made similar mistakes growing up.”
“I do think that it is possible for parents or schools to provide too many rewards for kids.”

Overall an excellent book. If you’re a new teacher, I’d call this an essential read prior to your first day.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Read more reviews:Goodreads – Website: Pete Springer WordPressTwitter: @OfficerWoof

About Pete Springer

My name is Pete Springer. I taught elementary school for thirty-one years (grades 2-6) at Pine Hill School in Eureka, CA. Even though I retired over three years ago, my passion will always lie with supporting education, kids, and teachers.

When I came out of the teaching program many years ago, I realized how unprepared I was for what was in store for me in the classroom. My college education focused mostly on learning theory rather than the practical day-to-day challenges that all teachers face. Thankfully, I had some great mentors to lean on to help support me in the early part of my career.

I have made it my mission to pay it forward to the next generation of teachers. I was a master teacher to four student teachers, and I have several former students who are now teachers, including one who teaches at my former elementary school. That is pretty cool!

While I was teaching, I decided that one day I would write books for children. That ship is now in the harbor. I took some writing workshops, found a writing critique group, joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and I recently finished writing my first middle-grade novel. I’ve always connected with kids, and this is my new way of teaching.

My debut MG novel, Second Chance Summer, just got professionally edited, and I will be querying in the coming weeks.

The next book today is the latest poetry collection by Balroop SinghHues Of Hope: Selected Poetry

About the collection

Hues Of Hope is the collection of readers’ favorite poems from my poetry books. These poems explore the hope that lies within our heart, hope that whispers each morning to look at the horizon, hope that inspires us to look beyond the chaotic world and take the next step to vanquish the fears that try to fetter us. It promises to take us to an oasis of peace, unravels magical moments of joy, as beams of love calm our senses. It even guides us through dark alleys to show the streaks of light that shimmer through the clouds.

My review for the collection June 25th 2022

Balroop Singh writes poetry not just from her heart but verse that touches the hearts of those who read it.

There are so many elements in her verse we can all relate to. The love of nature with its emotional and physical impact on us with its raw beauty and power, the variations on the theme of love and relationships, and the chains that bind us created by expectations of our own or others. The author shares her thoughts on finding our own identity, conquering pain, finding forgiveness and the sanctity of family. Each tells a story and all highlight the author’s ability to appreciate and understand human nature.

The collecton is divided into these areas of nature and the human condition and that provides a flow that moves you seamlessly from one poem to the next. Some of my favourites include Tread Softly Here, Magic, A Concert, When Love Whispered, and Don’t Dwell On It! Really?

One poem in particular struck me with its emotional elements. The Golden Cage

Trapped in the golden cage
The cage of unfulfilled desires
The cage of love and expectations
The cage with vast vistas
Each door so welcoming
Yet so deceptive 

This is a lovely collection of poems and I can highly recommend.

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

Books by Balroop Singh

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, an educator, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in California.

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Ireland #Music #Romance Claire Fullerton, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau


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.

Having read and enjoyed the books by Claire Fullerton, today I am sharing the delightful novel set in Ireland, Dancing to an Irish Reel.

N.B Claire has contacted me tonight 3rd August to let me know that she has just received the rights back for Dancing to an Irish Reel from her publisher and will be hopefully republishing the book again. However I know some of you already have the book on your TBR and I hope you will read and enjoy.

Dancing to an Irish Reel by [Claire Fullerton]

About the book

While on sabbatical from her job in the Los Angeles record business, twenty-five-year old Hailey Crossan takes a trip to the west coast of Ireland , where she walks into the Galway Music Center and is offered a job too good to turn down. Friendships are formed quickly with her fellow, Irish employees, and Hailey lives thirteen miles “up the road” in the wind-swept, seaside area of Connemara, a land steeped in traditional music, where Irish is the first language.

When Hailey meets a famous local musician named Liam Hennessey, a confusing relationship begins, which Hailey thinks may be the result of differing cultures, for Liam is married to the music, and although curious about Hailey, won’t come closer nor completely go away. And so begins the push and pull of a relationship Hailey struggles to decipher as a stranger in a strange, and Hailey comes to love a land and its people with more heart and soul than she ever imagined, during a year that becomes the most pivotal of her life.

Her new job comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Although Liam’s not so sure love is in the cards for him, he’s not willing to push her away completely.

And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and gives her a chance at happiness she’s never found before.

My review for the book January 25th 2022

This is a love story. Not just between a man and a woman. It is also the slow falling in love with a culture rich in history, language and music, which can be confusing to the uninitiated who arrive expecting only to be there for a short visit.

The Irish have a way of embracing and drawing you into their way of life, and the author clearly absorbed all this richness during her time in the country in her twenties.

Traditional music is at the heart of communities throughout Ireland and Galway is the perfect setting. Nothing quite like dark smoky bars late on in the evening, when the musicians pick up their instruments and the magic begins.

The characters are beautifullly embellished with little details that immediately bring them into focus. Handsome enigmatic musicians, dapper elderly gentlemen imparting wisdom, free spirited craftsmen who have poetic souls, family dynasties where music runs in the blood.

Add in a young American conscious of being an outsider, trying to find her way through the complexity of adapting to the ebb and flow of this cultural colour, and you have a delightful reading experience.

The pace of the story is not rushed, for you would lose much of the detail and richness of the descriptions in the book. Life in Ireland is meant to be savoured. That can be an interesting and sometimes disconcerting concept for those who arrive for a quick holiday.

Expect to make some assumptions of how the relationship between Hailey and Liam will evolve through the story, but according to the cards all will be well, someday.

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

Other books by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Twitter: @Cfullerton3

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Little Tea, set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the Goodreads, 2021, July Book of the Month, the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, 1st place winner in the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award, a finalist in the International Book Awards, and the Independent Authors Network 1st place in Literary Fiction winner and 2nd place winner for 2020 Book of the year.

Claire is the author of 12 X award winning Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Claire is also the author of 3X award winning, Dancing to an Irish Reel, set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary

The next book is a poetry collection that I can highly recommend Elizabeth Gauffreau Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance

About the collection

Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review

“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review

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

One of the reviews for the collection

Merril D. Smith 5.0 out of 5 stars Poems that resonate  Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2022

Elizabeth Gauffeau’s Grief Songs is a short book that leaves a long, lingering presence. The book is a collection of personal photographs paired with mostly tanka poems. (A tanka is a 5-line poem typically written as syllabic lines of 5-7-5-7-7). This means that each poem is a sharp distillation of a moment, an event, or even the history of a relationship between parents, between her and her parents, or between her and her brother.

Because the poems are brief, the book can be read very quickly. However, a reader who lingers over words and photos will be rewarded. The poems and the feelings behind them grow with repeated readings. I must say that sometimes I was left wondering what happened. This is not a criticism of the poems, but rather, my own curiosity about people. “Youth Group Picnic,” for example, gives us a glimpse of the day—two children waiting in the car, giggling and honking the horn. Liz fills in the rest of the story here on her blog.

“For a Crooked Smile,” however, needs no additional context.

“He was my little brother.”

That poem brought me to tears (as did several others):

Grief Song III

I held her hand
as she lay dying
death rattle
in my throat.

This is a book of poetry that is highly accessible, but with poems that resonate. It is a memoir in bite-size pieces. Each poem is a snapshot, a memory experienced in the way we are all hit by a sudden remembrance of a time, a place, or a person.

In “Sixty Years of Katherine,” Liz writes:

“minutes tucked into envelopes
decades left in dresser drawers”

These lines feel both personal and universal. Those of us who have helped a parent move or who have cleared a home after they’ve passed, understand the complex emotions behind these beautiful, succinct phrases. 

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

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Twitter: @LGauffreau

An image posted by the author.

About Elizabeth Gauffreau

Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Curriculum & Assessment for Champlain College Online, where she is an Associate Professor. Her fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and several themed anthologies. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband.

 

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

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Flash #Life Pamela S. Wight, #Thriller Simon Van der Velde


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 delightful reflection on life that I can recommened Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary by Pamela S. Wight

About the collection.

Wow! Life goes by in a flash.

Philosophers and mystics ponder the mystery of these flashes. Pamela Wight writes about life flashes in her short stories that include family and friends, love and life’s challenges. Wight’s “Flash Memoir” promotes the belief that we all share sparks of the extraordinary that occur in our everyday life. Each short story is true and brings a smile of recognition to her readers: that life transports and enthralls us in all its confusing, amusing, challenging, and astonishing ways. Each story is light-hearted and short – like a flash – but be prepared for a page-turner that keeps you in your seat, smiling.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Amy M. Reade 5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Read  Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2022

This is the kind of book I find myself reading again and again because it’s full of wisdom, laughter, a few tears, and so, so many moments that make you say “I can totally relate to that.” It touches on every emotion, yet is light and deceptively simple to read. The messages imparted by the author are lessons (in the form of beautiful and delightful stories) learned from a life lived well and deeply.

There are stories here from the author as a girl, a young woman, a mom, and a grandmother, and they all touch my heart is some way. The story of the lost cell phone is priceless (read: hilarious). The stories of her dog are poignant and oh-so-relatable to anyone who has ever been owned by a pet. I especially love the stories about her summer vacations to the Jersey shore, since that’s where I live and walk those same beaches and sidewalks. More than one of the stories will have the reader humming a Beatles tune, whereas others will elicit pangs of claustrophobia at the thought of being trapped inside a San Francisco taxi or in the back row of an airplane. The author has a self-deprecating brand of humor that can take a calamity and spin it into a funny tale. 

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

Also by Pamela S. Wight

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Pamela S. Wight, buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Pamela : Goodreads – website:Rough Wighting – Twitter: @pamelawight

About Pamela S. Wight

Pamela Wight is a successful author of romantic suspense novels as well as two illustrated children’s book, BIRDS OF PARADISE and MOLLY FINDS HER PURR, enjoyed by readers ages 3 to 93.

Her first book, THE RIGHT WRONG MAN, got rave reviews for taking readers “on an exciting adventure with lots of intrigue, unexpected plot twists, and romance.” A year later, Wight published her second novel, TWIN DESIRES. “Lots of suspense, plot twists, romance, and excellent character development makes this a fun read!”

The gorgeously illustrated BIRDS OF PARADISE, finalist in the 2018 International Book Awards, has received many enthusiastic reviews: “This creative, compassionate story about birds will inspire children to notice the everyday adventures of backyard birds.”

Wight’s second picture book, MOLLY FINDS HER PURR, published Fall, 2019, follows Molly the Cat, who can’t find any friends. And almost worse, she can’t find her purr. After looking for friendship in all the wrong places, Molly learns that making friends is as easy as looking up in the trees and on the ground, where other lonely creatures are hiding in plain sight. Whether hard-shelled or soft as a bunny, everyone needs friendships that help them find their purr.

Pamela earned her Master’s in English from Drew University, continued with postgraduate work at UC Berkeley in publishing, and teaches creative writing classes in Boston and San Francisco.

She lives in the Boston area with her “right man” and hikes the New England trails while concocting her stories. Wight travels frequently to the San Francisco Bay area for additional inspiration. She speaks to book clubs, schools, and libraries in both locations.

The next book is a gritty literary thriller The Silent Brother by Simon Van der Velde

About the book

The Past Never Dies

When his beloved little brother is stolen away, five-year-old Tommy Farrier is left alone with his alcoholic mam, his violent step-dad and his guilt. Too young to understand what has really happened, Tommy is sure of only one thing. He is to blame.

Tommy tries to be good, to live-up to his brother’s increasingly hazy memory, but trapped in a world of shame and degradation he grows up with just two options; poverty or crime. And crime pays.

Or so he thinks.

A teenage drug-dealer for the vicious Burns gang, Tommy’s life is headed for disaster, until, in the place he least expects, Tommy sees a familiar face…

And then things get a whole lot worse.

My review for the book June 18th 2022

There is an expression – ‘It if was not for his bad luck, he would have no luck at all’. That seems to sum up Tommy’s unforgiving and relentless passage through life.

Family is Tommy, his younger brother Benjy, and a mother who seeks comfort in a bottle, and in relationships that are addictive and dangerous; for herself and her children.

Like a row of dominoes one event sends Tommy’s life crashing. The only glimmer of light in his dark childhood is a scrap of a girl with a love of chocolate caramel.

There is no escape from the path Tommy finds himself on, guilt and a need to find his place in this uncertain world he inhabits, deliver blow after blow.

This book is set in Newcastle at a time when major industries, the lifeblood of the city, closed down leaving a generation of hard-working men and women without purpose. Lacking adequate support, the heart of a community dies, leaving the young with no future to work towards and a vacuum filled by those happy to take advantage. When criminal organisations are the only ones hiring… what is a lad to do?

This is not a cosy mystery but an edgy and gritty look at a life at the mercy of circumstances, poverty and criminal dominance. It is also compelling and filled with characters that are vividly drawn and whose every thought, word and deed ooze the menace that comes with ingrained hardship and deprived upbringings.

As a reader you are drawn into the turbulence of Tommy’s life. You absorb his desperation and also his passion for his brother and Annie whose life he becomes enmeshed in again as an adult.

Risks have to be taken, trust has to be given and a plan must be carried out to drag Tommy and Annie away from the precipice they are clinging to. Secrets long hidden offer a chance at a future and redemption.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The author brings all the threads of this story to a close masterfully with revelations and hope. A reward not just for the characters, but for the reader who has become so engaged in their story.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy gritty novels about ordinary people who strive to fight their way out of difficult circumstances.

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

Also by Simon Van der Velde

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Goodreads: Simon Van Der Velde Twitter: @SimonVdVwriter

About Simon Van Der Velde

Simon Van der Velde has worked variously as a barman, laborer, teacher, caterer and lawyer, as well as traveling throughout Europe and South America collecting characters for his award-winning stories. Since completing a creative writing M.A. (with distinction) in 2010, Simon’s work has won and been shortlisted for numerous awards including; The Yeovil Literary Prize, (twice), The Wasafiri New Writing Prize, The Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Frome Prize, and The Harry Bowling Prize – establishing him as one of the UK’s foremost short-story writers.

Simon now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, with his wife, labradoodle and two tyrannical children.

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

 

 

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Ireland #Family Mary Crowley, #Thriller Jack Talbot


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 another of my recommended reads  Under a Dark Cloud by Irish author Mary Crowley

About the book

Under a Dark Cloud is a grippingly emotional story of shattered dreams, haunting nightmares and bitter memories. Kelly Henderson wants reprieve to emerge from Under the Dark Cloud that shrouds her life.

Kelly Henderson returns to Bunreen, a small town nestled in the South East of Ireland, weeks after her husband’s tragic death, wanting to re-establish a relationship with her mother and sister. However, as the taxi approaches her old home, she is harshly reminded of the night her mother Lorraine banished her to live with her father in Scotland, when she was only fifteen years of age.

Kelly’s’ heart is heavy and her grief raw, but she must keep strong as she soon discovers there are more secrets within the family. While Lorraine’s indifference to her pain gives renewed determination to right the wrongs of the past and prove she had not been lying about what had happened to her as a teenager. A wrongdoing that led to the breakdown of her marriage and in Kelly’s mind, inevitably caused her husband’s death. It’s time to take back control and get the reprieve she deserves.

Nessa Quinlan has a simple but happy life with her devoted husband Liam; however, her life is turned upside-down when her estranged brother contacts her to say he is dying of cancer. Nessa had broken all ties with Donald after he had killed a local teenager in a road accident showing no remorse.

Kind-hearted, Nessa becomes his carer which concerns her family and best friend Clodagh, but Nessa has more to contend with than the disagreeable Donald, with ghosts from her past threatening to cloud her happiness, which in turn puts a strain on her marriage. This is not helped by Donald refusing medical treatment until one day Kelly arrives on their doorstep as his new Health Nurse.

Can Nessa save her marriage? Does Kelly hold the answers to Nessa’s problems, or will her presence bring further recriminations?

Under a Dark Cloud is Mary Crowley’s second Novel following her Debut A Sweet Smell of Strawberries, a heart wrenching tale of a mother’s loss when her son, a talented athlete is killed.

My review for the book 4th April 2020

I read and enjoyed A Sweet Smell of Strawberries and was looking forward to reading Mary Crowley’s second novel and was not disappointed.

There is some continuity from the first book which featured characters on the edges of the main story, who now take centre stage in this novel. This did help bring me in to the story right from the start and although a stand alone book, you would gain a great deal by reading the first book.

The women in this story all have fractured pasts, trauma, loss and challenging personalities. Kelly and Nessa have secrets and unresolved issues that are now influencing their relationships and their futures. Their families are also going through challenging times and those who you would expect to be supportive and trustworthy are holding on to their own darkness.

In this small town evil is lurking and it will take strength of character, resolve and courage to confront it and move on from the devastating repercussions of its impact on individuals and the community.

Mary Crowley has created wonderful characters and even those who are dark and unlikeable are compelling. The threads of each character’s story from the past to the present, are woven into a complex and interconnecting web of lies, mystery, trauma and secrets. The reader is left guessing who might be the perpetrator of the actions that have resulted in both Kelly’s and Nessa’s turmoil, and there is a surprising ending that brings the story to a satisfactory close.

It is a well written family saga, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing and I am sure that like me, you will enjoy reading Under a Dark Cloud.

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

Also by Mary Crowley

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And on : Amazon US – Follow Mary : Goodreads – Blog/Website: Mary Crowley WordPress – Twitter: @marycrowleym

About Mary Crowley

Mary Crowley writes Contemporary Irish Literature. Author of A Sweet Smell of Strawberries and Under a Dark Cloud . Her fictional work generally focusses on strong emotional relationships and family conflict, adding intrigue and humour, with a sprinkle of hope but most of all heart.

Mary lives in County Waterford, on the South East Coast of Ireland, with her husband and three children. Having worked as a Dental nurse and Dental Health Educator for many years she decided to follow her dream of writing and went on to study creative writing and journalism. Winner of The Waterford Writer’s Weekend Short Story Competition (2016), she also has several short story publications, in Magazines and newspapers along with publications in writing.ie, one of which was inspired by her literary heroine Maeve Binchy, another about the local legendary Hoffman’s event, “The Pram Race,” which took place in Tramore back in the late eighties. Mary is currently working on her third novel along with writing for local newspaper The Munster Express and freelance writing.

When she is not writing, Mary loves reading and spending time with her husband John and their three children Damon, Steven and Katie, though they are growing up too quickly. Her most favoured way of family time, is travelling to new and interesting places in her beloved VW Camper searching for the next story to tell. It was a yearly trip to Letterkenny in Donegal where one of her son’s competed in the Errigal Youth Cycling Tour that inspired the setting for her first novel A Sweet Smell of Strawberries.

The next book is by Jack Talbot and is a thriller The Hurler about a game at the heart of Irish family life. I can highly recommend.

About the book

Hurling, revenge, atonement, murder….

A missing man, a tenacious female sergeant, a murky world of criminal activity and murder, all set in motion when local family man and hurler Jim Rourke goes missing….

When family man and local hurler Jim Rourke goes missing in Oldcastle, a troubled call from his wife sends Sergeant Britney Kent delving into his disappearance. Initially, the incident is dismissed as trivial by her colleagues. However, when another man is found murdered at a local hurling field, Britney is convinced there is a connection. This murder is closely followed by that of a high-profile sports correspondent and the connection is only enforced.

With victims piling up, Britney finds herself on the trail of the sadistic killer known only as ‘The Courier.’

However, as Britney digs deeper, it is made clear her interference in the investigation is unwelcome. Deep suspicion of corruption and criminal connections come to light. Britney finds herself wondering who she can trust. Is the killer really one of her own?

Only by unravelling the connection between the hurler, the criminal underworld and corruption at the highest levels, will the killer be revealed. But all is not what it seems.

With time running out, can Britney save this latest victim and in doing so, save her career?

In Jack Talbot’s thriller ‘The Hurler’ we learn how the ancient surrogate for war is more than just a game. And that all may not be as it seems.

My review for the book January 15th 2022

I enjoyed this thriller very much. Hurling is at the heart of Irish sport at both amateur and professional level, and there are not many families whose children have not played the game during school and beyond. Like any sport there are opportunities for manipulation and corruption, and when combined with a thirst for revenge, the door is opened to violent retribution.

As a young police sergeant discovers, solving the mystery of a missing local man and connecting the links in a nationwide serial murder case, is going to be difficult and dangerous when hampered by obstructive senior detectives and those with links to criminal enterprises.

When you don’t know who to believe, trust or respect and the investigation is blocked at every turn, all you have is your own commitment and drive to succeed at whatever the cost. Including the impact on a new and exciting relationship that offers an unexpected chance of a promising future.

The author has created characters that are richly drawn and in some cases downright despicable. As the various threads of institutional corruption within the police, sports officials and the escalating violence of the serial killer knit together, cleverly inserted red herrings have the reader eagerly turning the pages to find the answers.

The momentum was maintained throughout the book and the reader is kept guessing right to the last chapter. There are surprises in store and revelations that will shock and satisfy.

I recommend this to lovers of fast paced thrillers and look forward to reading more books by this author.

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

About Jack Talbot

Jack Talbot was born and raised in Kilkenny, Ireland. He lived for a short while in Australia, America and Europe before returning home to his native country. A carpenter by trade he also worked in drapery, bars and as a fitness instructor before turning to writing. Being an avid reader all his life his main interest is fiction, especially crime thrillers. This passion allied to his life experience and his youthful fling with the game of hurling provided plenty of inspiration for his first novel, ‘The Hurler.’

Connect to Jack Talbot: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Website: Jack TalbotFacebook: Jack Talbot – Facebook Author Page: The Hurler – Follow Jack: Goodreads – LinkedIn: Jack Talbot

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #History #Britain Mike Biles, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro


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.

If you are looking for a guide to visiting the UK then  A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays by Mike Biles, is a must read… it is the second of Mike’s books that I have reviewed and enjoyed.

About the book

High Days and Holidays are special occasions, celebrations, or commemorations. They occur throughout the year, some wanted, some not, some remembered more than others. In days gone by, the passing year was marked by seasonal or religious feast days of one sort or another; in some respects, they still help define our calendar.

A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays explores a baker’s dozen of Britain’s notable occasions and traditions, from New Year onward, the things we associate with them and the stories behind each one. If you’ve ever wondered who Valentine was, where Christmas crackers come from, or thought about the Easter bunny (and who hasn’t?), A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays is for you. And, whilst this book is not just for Christmas, it does include an A-Z of the festive season. A couple of recipes have been thrown in for good measure too, as well as an agenda for your hosting your very own Burns’ Supper. Oh – and at the end is an extensive list of Britain’s Big Days and events that normally form part of Britain’s Year – through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

So, if you’ve ever been baffled as to why some Brits do some of the things they do, or have even questioned why you do them yourself, this little book might help. Occasionally lighthearted, fascinating and useful, once you’ve read it, keep it handy to refer to when needed.

One of the reviews for the book

The Diesel-Electric Elephant Company5.0 out of 5 stars Had me spitting out my coffee – and then cursing the author. Highly recommended.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 April 2021

As an englishman I see some of the traditions in this book as utterly sensible, laudable and to be encouraged – while dismissing entirely, of course, those from the “RoB” [The Rest of Britain}. All are described in this volume with the concomitant touch of puzzlement, derision, love, nationalism, outrage and amusement that they deserve. This book – and another by this author – ‘A Bit About Britain’s History’ – ought to be compulsory reading for all of those below the age of “me”. If there’s one thing we do well in England – and, grudgingly, in Britain too – it is to be …peculiar.

Why did I spit my coffee over my lap and my hitherto pristine copy of this book? Well, the author won’t mind a brief “spoiler” when I say that the august figure of Robert Burns is (accurately) referred to as a chap whose brain was generally used as merely a periscope for his willie. If you don’t know what a ‘willie’ is then please, don’t look it up. I could have finished reading the book there and then; the author had earned his meagre royalty.

What made me curse the author? Christmas. Specifically the author’s criminal disregard for the magnificent creature that is the Brussels Sprout. At that point I wanted my money back.

Aside from the Brussels Sprout issue, this is an accurate book, providing sufficient detail but not too much. Beautifully written, well edited and admirably printed by the company that runs this website. I commend this book to the nation. Also to the Commonwealth, the remains of the old Empire, the poor souls in the “rest of the world” and any aliens looking for a great read during their stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure in RAF Woodbridge (the equivalent to ‘Merica’s “Area 51” thingy).

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

Also by Mike Biles

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain – Twitter@bitaboutbritain

Mike Biles has lived in Britain all his life and generally loves the place, warts and all. He first learned history on his dad’s knee and went on to study medieval and modern British and European history at university. He was planning on teaching it, but then drifted into a career running his own business. Despite having worked with some of the UK’s most prestigious firms, he is often at his happiest with his nose in a history book, or exploring a historic site where the past is close. Several years ago, Mike began a blog – now an increasingly authoritative website – ‘A Bit About Britain’. He had to write a bit about Britain’s history for the website, and it seemed only sensible to put the material into his first book.

As a participant in Colleen Chesebro’s weekly Tuesday Tanka Challenge, I have discovered so many different forms of syllabic poetry and come to love creating poems in these formats. I loved this guide and can highly recommend

About the book

Are you ready to learn how to craft Japanese and American poetry? Consider this book the first step on your journey to learning the basics of how to craft syllabic poetry. Inside, you will discover many new forms, syllable combinations, and interpretations of the different Japanese and American forms and structures of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, renga/solo renga, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, the cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry.

So… what are you waiting for? Let’s craft syllabic poetry together!

One of the recent reviews for the guide and poetry collection

Chris 5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent tutorial  Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2022

This is an excellent tutorial for anyone wanting to craft effective syllabic poetry. It covers a range of different forms of American and Japanese syllabic poetry, some of which I never come across before. Each chapter starts with the history of the particular form, moving onto a clear explanation of the technical aspects and suggestions of where to find inspiration, then come some examples, a recap and further examples. I particularly enjoyed reading these, especially the ones by the poets I know. It was like unexpectedly bumping into a friend!

Although still somewhat daunted by the more complex forms which come at the end of the book, I am definitely encouraged to experiment more with all the different forms. The author’s final exhortation to the reader: ‘Be bold. Be creative. Write some syllabic poetry!’ With such encouragement, who can fail to try? 

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

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And:Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor blog: Colleen Chesebro Twitter: @ColleenChesebro

About Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry.

Along with JulesPaige, Colleen is also a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. The debut issue of this journal will publish in October 2021.

Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in various other online publications. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for Carrot Ranch. Colleen’s poetry has poetry in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures,” a collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on “Writing to be Read” in 2020.

Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House.

 

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

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #1920s #Historical Beem Weeks, #Psychological #Thriller Stevie Turner


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 is one I enjoyed and reviewed earlier in the year, Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks... a story set in a time when the music was an escape from life for many.

About the book

While all of Mississippi bakes in the scorching summer of 1925, sudden orphanhood wraps its icy embrace around Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten, a pretty young teen.

Taken in by an aunt bent on ridding herself of this unexpected burden, Baby Teegarten plots her escape using the only means at her disposal: a voice that brings church ladies to righteous tears, and makes both angels and devils take notice. “I’m going to New York City to sing jazz,” she brags to anybody who’ll listen. But the Big Apple–well, it’s an awful long way from that dry patch of earth she’d always called home.

So when the smoky stages of New Orleans speakeasies give a whistle, offering all sorts of shortcuts, Emily Ann soon learns it’s the whorehouses and opium dens that can sidetrack a girl and dim a spotlight…and knowing the wrong people can snuff it out.

Jazz Baby just wants to sing–not fight to stay alive.

One of the many reviews for the book

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars Step into the past…  Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2022

Beem Weeks will take you back in time with this story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a jazz singer. Emily Ann “Baby” Teegarten is gifted with an amazing voice, but her life falls apart when her mother murders her father, and she is left orphaned at thirteen. Taken in by an aunt, she struggles to navigate her own way, singing in speak easies, getting caught up in a life of gangsters, drugs, and sex.

The setting is gritty and raw, perfectly rendered. This is a dark book—the character endures a lot at the hands of those who would use her for their own gain—but it also presents a realistic slice of life that brings the seedier side of the 1920s to vivid clarity. The writing is a mesmerizing combination of “plain-speak” and crude beauty. I don’t think I’ve ever read dialogue that felt so authentic or flowed so effortlessly. Characters are exquisitely drawn. Some, like Nessie, will steal your heart. Others, like Pig and Rydekker, will make your skin crawl. There is a side plot related to stolen money, and others involving infatuations and the first flush of love.

Emily Ann is feisty and daring but also naïve. There were many times I wanted to shake sense into her, and others where I cringed over the danger she found herself in—time and time again. This is a coming-of-age tale that doesn’t pull punches. I felt like I stepped back in time to an era when “speaks” and cathouses ruled the night and dreams of overcoming circumstance resulted in reckless choices. Bravo to the author for painting such a stark reality of hardscrabble living. 

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

Also by Beem Weeks

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UKFollow Beem Weeks: Goodreads Website/Blog: Beem Weeks – Twitter: @BeemWeeks

About Beem Weeks

Beem Weeks is the author of short stories, poems, essays, and novels. A pop-culture trivia buff, Beem’s passions include indie films, loud music, and a well-told story. He has also penned short story collections entitled Slivers of Life, and Strange Hwy: Short Stories.

Another book that I enjoyed and reviewed earlier in the year is by Stevie Turner, a psychological thriller – Scam: An Electric Eclectic Book

About the book

Winner of the 2021 Electric Eclectic Novella Prize

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

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

What could possibly go wrong?

One of the reviews for the book

Carol Balawyder 5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read  Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2022

Lauren is tired of living with her in laws, especially her dominating mother-in-law and can hardly wait to be able to move out with her husband, Ben and have the privacy and liberty she craves.

Her desires to escape her current situation make her the perfect target for falling for a scam. One in which she practically loses all her and her husband’s life savings and in the process is destroying her marriage.

There is more to this novel besides the scam which places it above the white color crime genre and into the mystery crime novel.

Scam was an easy read and anyone who is thinking of embarking in a get rich scheme ought to read this book. It’s bound to make you think twice about parting with your well-earned money.

Scam is a face paced book with well developed characters. This is a story about forgiveness, mistakes and the power of love.

It’s short enough to be read in one sitting which I did not because of its length but because I couldn’t put it down. All in all a fun read. 

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

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

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

About Stevie Turner

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

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

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

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

 

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Children’s #Binmen Sue Wickstead


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 poetry collection by Bette A. Stevens – My Maine – Haiku through the seasons.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Elizabeth Gauffreau5.0 out of 5 stars For Readers Drawn to the Constancy of the Seasons  Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2022

I was first drawn to Bette A. Stevens’s poetry collection, My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons, because I have connections to Maine myself, and I’ve become interested in syllabic poetry the past few years. For readers with similar interests, I would recommend My Maine as a must-read. For general readers, I would highly recommend the collection just for the sheer enjoyment of it.

The paperback is beautifully laid out with color photographs emblematic of a particular mood of the season. On the facing page, a series of haiku speak to each photograph. The book also features appealing section dividers and lettering. I mention the book design because it added another dimension to my reading experience, which I appreciated.

In terms of form, haiku aligns perfectly with observational nature poetry. The poems in My Maine follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count used for haiku written in English. They break with tradition by employing metaphor, alliteration, and rhyme. For me as a reader, this breaking with tradition to serve the needs of each poem ensures that the collection as a whole is more than an exercise in form. (Form purists may disagree with me!)

I read the book twice, and my experience reading My Maine for a second time was quite different from my first reading. With my first read, I wished that each poem had been placed on its own page, so that I could savor them individually without being distracted by the others.

The second time I read the book, I immediately realized that the placement of several poems on the same page was not a design layout decision. Each series of poems can actually read as a single poem moving through a progression of thought. The fact that my second reading experience was different from my first is the hallmark of a book that is rich in nuance, cohesion, and resonance.

Recurring imagery, metaphors, and themes also lend cohesion to the collection, including the land and people’s relationship to it, ties to the past, music, gardening, how light changes with the seasons, and how rain changes with the seasons.

I cannot end this review without citing my favorite poem from the collection:

Potholes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back.

In just three short lines, Stevens evokes the contrast between the adult’s experience of spring as a car’s front end knocked out of whack and the child’s experience of spring as a carnival ride in the backseat of the family car.

Finally, I highly recommend My Maine to anyone looking for a constant in tumultuous times. The book will be a comfort.

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

Also by Bette A. Stevens for Children and adults

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette:Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter:@BetteAStevens

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About Bette A. Stevens

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). The author has also published the photography and poetry collection MY MAINE: Haiku through the Seasons

Stevens’s children’s book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO! was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England in a family whose poverty and alcoholism mark him as a target for bullying by young and old alike. This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP (KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017).

The next book today is David’s Bin Day from the prolific children’s author and teacher Sue Wickstead.

About the book

What is it like to be a binman?

As a bin lorry clatters down the street one morning, a little boy is watching with interest.

Just like the binmen, David is wearing his brightly coloured bobble hat, and he is ready to tidy things up.

But everything in his home begins to disappear!

And what happened to Daddy’s important letter?

“David’s playtime adventure stirs up a bit of trouble in this sweet book about playing pretend.” Sarah Flores, Write Down the Line.

One of the reviews for the book

dash fan 5.0 out of 5 stars 5☆ A Light Hearted, Sweet Children’s Picture Book  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 April 2022 –5☆ A Light Hearted, Sweet Children’s Picture Book

I always look forward to Sue Wickstead children’s books and David’s Bin Day, was a super fun picture book that will capture children’s imaginations.

David loves Wednesday’s as it’s Bin Day Collection and he loves nothing better, than watching the Refuse collection.
He even has he’s own Bobble Hat just like them.

Once the collection has finished David sets out to pretend to be a Binman, collecting all the rubbish he finds laying around the house… nothing is safe when Binman David is on the case! lol

I really enjoyed this light hearted picture book. Children will definitely be able to relate to the story as refuse collections happen every week. The only thing lil thing is some might prefer the terminology refuse/waste collectors instead of binmen.
It also teaches children to pick up rubbish and throw it away and to pick up toys after they have been played with. So it teaches children about responsibilities and even you could talk further and discuss recycling etc …

Once again Sue has written a Heart-warming story, with beautiful illustrations and relatable characters.

The length is perfect for younger readers and I think it’s best suited to ages 4-8years.
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to read more of Sue’s books, then I highly recommend you do ( see my blog for more books) I can’t wait for Sue’s next book! 

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

A small selection of books by Sue Wickstead

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – More reviews: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Sue Wickstead – Facebook: Stories Sue – Facebook: Teacher Page – Twitter: @JayJayBus – LinkedIn: Sue Wickstead

About Sue Wickstead

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author with Award winning books.
Shortlisted in the Wishing Shelf Book awards. and has written children’s picture books with a bus theme. In addition, she has also written a photographic history book about the real bus behind her story writing.

Her bus stories are about a playbus. Have you ever been on a Playbus?
When Sue’s two children were young, they attended a playgroup on a bus, but not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey, exciting though this is, but a Playbus stuffed full of toys to capture their imagination!

For over 20 years, alongside her teaching career, she worked with the charity, the Bewbush Playbus Association.

As part of the committee she painted the bus, worked in the groups, helped raise the profile of the project and its work and was part of the team involved in raising funds to replace the old bus with a newer vehicle. This led her to write a photographic history book about it.

‘It really was a fun journey to be involved in’, said Sue. The bus really got into her blood and became a work of the heart.

Having written the history book Sue soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. So, she decided to write a fictional tale, his number plate JJK261, gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original project and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continues.

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

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #Psychologicalthriller Alex Craigie


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 poetry collection that I thoroughly enjoyed , Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle.

About the collection

What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.

What thoughts are hidden
Behind her immobile face
Quite expressionless
Eyes cold and indifferent
Scrutinising me – hawk like

This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.

One of the reviews for the collection

Lauren Scott 5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry: Personal and Powerful  Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2022

Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle is a collection of various style poems such as freeform, tanka, haiku, and limerick. Robbie touches on many aspects of life evoking a myriad of emotions. She writes beautifully with strong convictions about marriage, motherhood, dreams, her struggles of working in the corporate world, living in lockdown during the pandemic, and about social issues she finds distressing. Whether her words speak of joy or anguish, they are fiercely passionate.

I personally connected to “Contrasting Colors” because of my strong marriage and relationship with my husband. Robbie creates a lovely metaphorical comparison between her and her husband, showing just how much they complement each other. I really liked the format of this poem. In “He Walks Away” her words paint the picture of her son who is no longer the little boy whose mom’s kisses cured all pain, but a young man who she will need to let go for him to find his way in the world. As an empty nester, my heart felt her bittersweet emotions.

Environmentally, I was drawn to “I saw a fish a-swimming” and “If the polar icecaps doth melt.” Robbie emphasizes the tragic effects of global warming not only on the planet, but on living creatures. She writes with concern and compassion, and some poems are written as twisted limericks bearing nothing but the truth. My stomach felt just as twisted after reading these powerful reminders. But even in trying times, Robbie includes, “Can you see the butterflies?” This poem offers delightful imagery, imploring the reader to dash outside in that very moment to embrace nature’s beauty.

I highly recommend Behind Closed Doors for poetry fans who revel in finding themselves relating to the messages or scenarios, therefore sinking into the deeper meanings. 

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

A selection of books for adults and children by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

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Read the reviews and Buy the books :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Follow Robbie : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration- Twitter: @bakeandwrite

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes two monthly posts for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms and Treasuring Poetry and one monthly post, under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle, called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends.

Robbie has a blog, Robbie’s Inspiration where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

The second book today is the gripping psychological thriller that also comes highly recommended Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie

About the book

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

One of the excellent  reviews for the book

judithanne 5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Psychological Read.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 March 2022

Means to Deceive is what I always call a gripping psychological read. As with this author’s style, it’s a slow- burner; but well worth the wait; the tension slowly but surely racks up the terror for the protagonist, Gwen. The plot twists and turns, keeping the reader guessing, and feeling every emotion Gwen feels: trepidation, unease, her suspicions of those around her. There are two obvious antagonists, but there are also two people in her life she has always loved and trusted, her grandmother, and her brother, even though her lifelong emotional relationship with each of them is completely different. Yet it’s only when, having come back to live in Pembrokeshire to care for her grandmother, her brother visits to help her, and she meets the new neighbour Ben, that her life begins to unravel.

Initially I wanted the protagonist to be stronger, more assertive, but the more I read, the more I realised how consumed by guilt and grief she is by something that happened in the past – (not giving away spoilers here). And these two emotions are the silent antagonists, revealed through a recurring section in the book, each time uncovering a little more memory, explaining why the layer of vulnerability in Gwen. Fascinating!

All the characters in the book are well rounded, multi layered. I found myself liking the way they are portrayed, and both loving and disliking some to their actions – to me, this is a sign of a well told story. Certainly I was kept guessing who was really trying to destroy Gwen’s life.

And I like being able to tell who’s speaking in a story, without dialogue tags, Alex Craigie certainly gives each character their voice in all her books.

I’ve read this author’s works before and one of the talents she has is to bring settings to life by the small details in her descriptions, so the village where Gwen lives: Dernant, the rooms of her home, the garden, the outside spaces, the houses of the other characters are instantly envisaged and give a great sense of place.

As I say, I don’t give spoilers in my review, and here, in the book description, the reader is given enough to know the plot. All I will say, and I hope that has come across in my words, is that I enjoyed Means to Deceive and thoroughly recommend to any reader who enjoys a well written psychological drama. 

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

Also by Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alex: Goodreads – Alex Craigie via: Facebook

About Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had two books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Both books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the NHS at its heart.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

 

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