Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Release – #Mystery D.L.Finn, Reviews #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Memoir Joy Lennick, #Dystopian Teri Polen


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is celebrating a new release is D.L. Finn for her YA  mystery Dolphin’s Cave.

About the book

The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?

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

A selection of other books by D.L. Finn

One of the recent reviews for This Last Chance

Balroop Singh 4.0 out of 5 stars A unique murder mystery  Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2020

This Last Chance by D.L. Finn explores a unique connection between Angels, evildwels and humans. The story underlines the fact that love eventually vanquishes evil. I marvel at the descriptive details about the Angels and their efforts to protect us from those who might harm us. Finn builds up suspense right in the beginning; it continues to grow and a nagging tension keeps you riveted to hear the outcome. A snowy and cold backdrop adds another dimension to the murder of Amber’s sister and her own safety.

Amber’s character is admirable, as she is observant, amiable and brave. She resolves to solve the mystery of her sister’s murder despite all the scary signs of being followed. Her patience and grit in the moment of crisis is remarkable. Even Angels love her. Nester too is drawn to Amber, he struggles to communicate with the winged ones but is scared of being overheard by an evildwel. His transformation is another amazing aspect of the story. I wonder how Finn could convert it into a feel good story despite the anxious moments. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Website: D.L. Finn Author –  Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

Now time for some recent reviews

The first book today with a recent review, comes with my own recommendation and is a murder mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

My review for the book November 10th 2020

What an amazing location to set this novel which rapidly turns a cruise of a lifetime into a murder scene, and a deepening mystery about the star of the Galapagos islands, a giant tortoise called Tio Armando.

These celebrated islands are heavily reliant on tourism for the funding of conservation projects involving the unique flora and fauna, some of which is near extinction. There are several interested parties in maintaining this lucrative business opportunity and some are therefore keen to cover up discrepancies and even murder.

Things are not adding up on board the luxury cruise liner and the mystery deepens as one of the passengers appears to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This is followed as the passengers disembark for guided tours of the various conservation projects to find that promised exhibits are missing.

Giovanna is not only there to take in the sights and is on a mission to expose and get justice after being fleeced by a habitual conman, discovering in the processs that she is not the only one aboard the ship who has been taken to the cleaners. The subject of her investigation however has his own agenda, with prospective victims already  drawn into his schemes. Lives are at risk as well as fortunes and the action heats up in a race against time.

The author has written articles on her visit to the Galapagos Islands and clearly spent her time well on researching the various islands and conservation efforts. This gives the novel a very authentic  feel.

The action is played out on the ship, in the waters rich with marine life surrounding the islands and ashore as the group of sightseers visit scientific projects and the capital of the Galapagos.

The players are diverse and some of them you wouldn’t necessarily want to be trapped on a cruise liner with, but all have a part to play as the mystery unravels. There are some lovely interludes as we tag along with the passengers exploring this incredible region, where we are introduced to the wonders of the nature to be found there. And there is also the burgeoning romance between Giovanna and the young detective, who may be the only person who can bring all the threads of this mystery together to provide us with a satisfactory conclusion.

This is an exciting adventure as well as a murder mystery with the bonus of being a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos Islands.

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

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

The next author is a welcome guest writer on the blog Joy Lennick, with a recent review for her memoir “My Gentle War”.My Gentle War a memoir, is about my paternal and maternal families and some of my experiences as an evacuee, especially to Wales, which still owns a chunk of my heart! Some of my Dad’s diary entries are included as they were such a contrast to mine!

It is the story of a young girl and her family. Ripped away from the home she loved, from her friends, and familiar surroundings, she spends her formative years in the comparative safety of the Welsh Valleys. With the World at War, and her father sent to the battlefields of Europe, her war is fought holding back tears whilst waiting for news of her father, never knowing whether she will see him again. This is the story of a young girl learning to live a new life, holding her family together in unfamiliar surroundings, all the while dreaming of the father that was forced to leave her. My Gentle War is Joy’s story.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars A child’s memories of Wales during WWII  Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020

This memoir focuses primarily on the years 1939 through 1941 when the author was 9-11 years old, a child living in Wales with her younger brothers during WWII. The children were sent to Wales to escape the more dangerous areas around London.

This isn’t a harsh story. It’s a recounting of life from the perspective of a child and is, therefore, full of fun and imagination and resilience. There are “ear-wigging” glimpses into the adult world, news of the war, and letters from the author’s dad who was serving in France. The sad and confusing realities of war surely intrude on daily life, but the focus is on friends and relatives, memorable gatherings and events. There are new trousers, dance performances, and games of truth or dare!

Lennick’s writing is witty and conversational, and she includes a handful of poems commemorating particular memories. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the brief jump ahead at the end to the conclusion of the war. The feeling of joy is palpable in the pages.

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

Also by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and by the books : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

The final author today is Teri Polen with a recent review for The Colony Series Book One – Subject A36

About the book

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars I can’t wait for the next book!  Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020

“Subject A36” is a YA story set in the future. There is a divide in how people are treated. The Colony contains the people who have all the money and power. They harvest good genetic traits from the insurgents or the have-nots, a process that kills the donor. The insurgents rescue those who are picked up to do the harvests. It’s a time where having a certain color of eyes or being intelligent means death to those who don’t live in the Colony. Seventeen-year-old Asher lost his family to this horrible practice and found his place on missions to release people from certain deaths. I love his relationship with his team, especially Brynn, the one who holds his heart. The connections feel very real to me and all the complications that go with hidden truths. This is a fast-paced story told in first-person through different points of view, which added to understanding the complicated world in which Asher exists. There are a lot of twists and surprises for Asher and his team. A couple of times, I was so invested in what was happening, sleep became unimportant. Although this is a YA read, it’s a story for adults too. I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this.

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

Also by Teri Polen

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

 

Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Shortstories Elizabeth Merry, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie, #Mystery Judy Penz Sheluk.


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first review is for Marcia Meara and her paranormal fantasy and the third book in a series The Emissary 3: Love Hurts

About the book

The archangel Azrael created his emissaries to help mortals avoid choices that would doom them for eternity. He hadn’t planned on the youngest member of the team falling in love with one. In Marcia Meara’s final installment of her Emissary Trilogy, a Riverbend spinoff series of novellas, we find our heroes facing a new problem, and it’s all because Dodger died before having a chance to learn what love was all about. His request that Azrael help him correct that situation causes a multitude of problems no one could have foreseen. Except the angel, himself.

Azrael’s emissary program was growing daily, but it still met with stubborn opposition from many on the Council of Angels. Dodger’s request to be allowed to experience what falling in love was all about didn’t help matters, but Azrael thought the boy was onto something. He agreed emissaries who’d shared a loving relationship during their mortal lives would have a deeper understanding of human emotions and motivations, thus enhancing the skills needed to do their jobs.

With that in mind, Azrael gave Dodger one chance to search for true love. He then laid down a daunting set of stringent rules and guidelines that could not be broken under any circumstances lest dire happenings occur. But while the angel sincerely hoped Dodger would find a way to make this endeavor work, he feared an avalanche of unintended consequences could be in store for his youngest emissary.

Sometimes even angels hate to be right.

Will Azrael ever tire of popping up behind Jake just to see his first emissary fall out of his chair in shock? Will sharp-eyed motel owners ever notice a big red-and-white semi mysteriously appearing and disappearing from their parking lots overnight? And will Dodger be able to track down the mystery girl who caught his eye two weeks earlier to see if she’s really The One?

To find the answers to these and other angelic or emissarial questions, come along on one last adventure with Jake, Dodger, and that ginormous, glowy-eyed archangel, Azrael. They’re waiting for you!

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming and brave end to the trilogy  Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2020

I really wondered how Meara was going to wrap up this series. At the end of book 2, Dodger receives permission from the Archangel Azrael to experience a loving relationship with a girl. But I just couldn’t imagine how it would work between a human and an immortal emissary of the angels. Well, silly me for being skeptical. The author pulls it off beautifully, though not at all how I expected. I was a teary mess.

This is a wonderful series with characters that I completely empathized with. They’re supremely human, emotional, and kind-hearted. Even scary old Azrael is enjoyable as he loosens up a little. Though there are problems to be overcome in the story, the main conflict centers on the challenge I posed above. The ending is brave, believable, and emotionally stunning.

The writing is tight, and the editing is flawless. The books in the Emissary series aren’t long, so they make for quick satisfying reads. I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning of the series. A wonderful trilogy for readers who enjoy feel-good stories.

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

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

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

The next author today is Elizabeth Merry with a review for her collection of short stories – We All Die in the End: Scenes from a Small Town.

About the collection

This is a diverse collection of interlinked stories set in a small, seaside town in Ireland. Some of them verge on the macabre; others deal with abusive relationships and many of them are grim. But there is humour here too – although it is dark humour:

“SADIE said nothing. She trimmed the fat off the kidneys and the liver, her fingers curling away from the soft, red slither and she held her breath against the faint smell of blood.”

“So, I watched Lydia and waited for some bloody nuisance of a child to come screeching after her but no child came. Well, that didn’t make any sense but then Lydia stopped and I saw her speak to the doll. Oho, ARTHUR, I said to myself and I threw down the cigarette. Oho, I said, what’s this? What have we here?”

“ANDY felt the unhappiness grow in his chest again. It was heavy and he fought against it. No, he said to himself. No. He held his arms up and out in front of him and made soft, crooning, engine noises.”

“ROSEMARY always made Dominic wait outside the door until she was in the bed. He could feel the slackness in her thighs and arms; he didn’t have to look at it as well. ‘Come in,’ she called when she was ready. Dominic bounced into the room half-undressed and dropped his shoes. ‘Wait now,’ he said, and brought in a bottle of red wine and two glasses.”

This is just a flavour of the great characters who people this small town, where everyone knows their neighbours, and everyone else!

One of the recent reviews for the book:

L. Carmichael5.0 out of 5 stars Fun short stories Reviewed in the United States on November 9, 2020

I’ve followed Elizabeth Merry’s blog for most of the last year, and when she published a collection of short stories, I wanted to check them out. We All Die In the End provides scenes from a small town, focusing on a core group of characters who are related, friends, or enemies… and as we jump from scene to scene, we learn a little more about them.

Written in a calm, easy tone, the characters are interesting and memorable. A few have quite the strong personality and demonstrate their British and Irish roots. I enjoyed the commentary on life, as each story tells us something about different relationships in our lives… different experiences we all have, from cleaning the house to affairs and from surprise pregnancies to love and loss. It reminds me of the stories or movies where you get tidbits about people’s lives and have to figure out how it all fits together.

Merry has a wonderful voice and easily shares several great tales that are relatable and personal. I like seeing how writers take their craft from blogs to books and back again. The cover is adorable, and that wave is ready to splash down on all the characters. Some don’t know it’s coming; others are simply trying their best, as we all do, to make it through the day. In the end, as Merry poignantly points out, aren’t we all headed for the same destiny?

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

Elizabeth Merry’s Author Page: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow Elizabeth: Goodreads Blog: Embookstuff WordPress – Twitter: @ElizabethMerry1

The next author is Jessica Norrie with a recent review for contemporary novel set in a community of parents and children The Magic Carpet.

About the book

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?

A recent review for the book

Laurie Adair Grove5.0 out of 5 stars THOUGHT-PROVOKING, WONDERFULLY WRITTEN BOOK!  Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2019

This is a wonderfully written, important book. When I read the first few paragraphs of a review on a book blog I happened onto, (thinking at first glance by the cover and title that it was going to be a lighthearted book, intended for young children) I thought-wow! I really like the way this author writes! I left the blog and immediately bought the eBook. And I did not want to stop reading, although I had to, for things like sleep, work, etc. Throughout, with the different vignettes set in the lives of families of various cultures, I felt warmed sometimes, and then very sad sometimes, and educated in things I didn’t realize, and in the end, I finished feeling with a hopeful heart. I think many people would benefit from reading this book.

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

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPressGoodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie

The final author today is Judy Penz Sheluk with a recent review for her new book..Where There’s A Will: A Glass Dolphin Mystery

About the book

Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

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

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 30, 2020 Susan Kirk rated it Five Stars

Arabella Carpenter and business partner Emily Garland find themselves in a world of legal entanglements in this newest addition to the Glass Dolphin series, Where There’s a Will. Arabella is hired to do an appraisal of a vintage photograph for the executrix of an estate that includes the old Hadley house, rumored to be haunted. On the plus side, Arabella’s also hired to work on the appraisal of the contents with her ex-husband Levon Larroquette, for whom she still carries a torch. On the negative side, she didn’t realize Emily Garland and her fiancé had put a bid on the Hadley house, recently added to the selling market.

A bidding war ensues between Emily and fiancé Luke and Miles Pemberton of television fame in the show Pemberton on Property, whose production company wants the house for a new television series. Pemberton has huge financial backing but is a bully with many enemies. And the bidding war begins.

What follows are wills—more than one?—real estate hanky-panky, secret drawers in old antiques, oodles of legal issues, and gossip by the online newspaper, Outside the Landing, adding fuel to the rumor market.

Expect the unexpected with lots of twists and turns. But you’ll also find the usual cast of interesting classic characters from small town of Lount’s Landing and the familiar feel of The Hanged Man’s Noose for cocktails and the Sunrise Café for breakfast. Where There’s a Will is a perfect addition to the Glass Dolphin mysteries.

A selection of other books by Judy Penz Sheluk

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Judy : Goodreads –  blog: Judy Penz Sheluk – Twitter: @JudyPenzSheluk

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Thriller Suzanne Burke, #Poetry Natalie Ducey, #TrueCrime Sue Coletta, #Supernatural John W. Howell, #Thriller Iain Kelly


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first book today is a thriller that is definitely a page turner from beginning to end that I can personally recommend. Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1) by Suzanne Burke

About the book

Acts Beyond Redemption takes you on a twisted, deadly, journey.

Mike Matheson is head of a Special Task Force set up by the F.B.I to track down and apprehend the serial killers responsible for 18 brutal murders.His team are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to burn out after almost five years and no leads. Their nightmares are stripping them to the bone. Finally, a break in the case hands them a suspect!

Sheila Harrington appears to have confessed to the horrific murders. Sheila Harrington also looks set to become the wife of The Governor of New York, Damon Henderson; the man strongly favored to become the next President of The United States of America.

Nothing has prepared them for this. Someone on the inside is deflecting their weary eyes away from an incomprehensible and shattering truth. Who will be buried in the shattered remains of a country where freedom and honor are treasured above all things?

Just how far will those elected to protect and defend go, to keep the American dream alive?

My review for the book September 14th 2020

A page turner with plenty of action and mystery.

Having enjoyed The Reckoning Squad, I was looking forward to this book which is part one of the Unintended Consequences series. Aptly named, as whilst a heinous act produced fully intended consequences, other people were drawn into the aftermath unintentionally with devastating effect.

There are some dark and dangerous characters moving between events four years prior to the present day task force looking into a serial killer. Knowing who to trust is challenging and putting your faith in certain people is fatal.

In this day and age, with history books and the worldwide Internet feeding us conspiracy theories on a regular basis, it is not that far fetched to imagine that some governments might go to extreme measures to obtain their endgame. Or may have already! With those in power susceptible to temptation and desire for power, who knows how far they will go to achieve their ambitions?

Suzanne Burke writes very well and you are fed pieces of information about the players and the game in hand throughout the book. Some of the prime suspects are visible, but others are in the shadows, or masquerading as being on the side of right and justice. You might have your suspicions about who they might be, but are kept guessing until the end of the book.

The final chapters wrap up some of the loose ends, but leaves sufficient to encourage the reader to get into book two as soon as possible. I am looking forward to doing just that.

I can recommend to anyone who enjoys a fast paced thriller with well drawn characters and plenty of suspense.

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

Also by Suzanne Burke

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

The next book is a collection of poetry from Natalie DuceyThe Heart’s Lullaby

About the collection

The Heart’s Lullaby is a candid portrayal of love in all its splendor and pain. Love, in its purest form, is tranquil and soothes the soul. But love, as is life, can sometimes be cruel and unjust with its paths of uncertainty and forced goodbyes. In essence, it is a journey of self-discovery. A continuous journey of becoming. Often, it becomes a delicate dance of holding on and letting go.

We linger in memories of ill-fated love; our minds can easily soil them, and our hearts can effortlessly polish them to perfection, altering their resemblance entirely. We can anchor ourselves to yesterday by zealous choice or solemn grief. So easily, we can become obsessed with what “might have been” and miss the beauty that lies before us. Our minds craft spectacular moments that will never be realized. Why? Is it self-indulgence, or are they necessary companions for our soul’s survival?

Love, its force so formidable, transcends time, distance, and even death. Eternal love is the epitome of its grandeur.

To feel the exquisite, majestic splendor of love is the greatest gift we can give or receive. To have another see the unique beauty in our imperfections, that will protect us and elevate us without greed or envy, a soul willing and proud to walk this journey of life with us and share in its joys and sorrows … this is love, a gift unmeasurable and unmatched by earthly possessions.

But two souls must be willing. Therein lies the intricate complexities of the heart. And in the end, we must never forget … love, as is life, is a continuous journey of becoming.

A recent review for the collection

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful heart felt collection of poetry  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 December 2020

A lovely collection of poetry principally about love, love lost and the heartbreak of being no longer loved. There is also a wonderful poem about time, plus poems about particular topics related to the puzzles that Natalie Ducey also creates. “Still Me,” is a touching poem about Alzheimer’s. And there are poems about those who serve in the military.

It is a personal, and touching poetry collection about the ups and downs and fragility of life andl love that you can easily return to again, perhaps gaining more on each visit.

I enjoyed all the collection but my personal favourites are:
Still Me,
A Father’s Love,
A Mother’s Love
To My Sister,
Mighty Heart,
and The Heart’s Lullaby.

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

Also by Natalie Ducey

Read the reviews and by the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Natalie: Goodreads – Blog: Natalie Ducey  – Twitter: @NatalieDucey

The next author with a recent review is for bestselling crime author Sue Coletta and  Pretty Evil New England: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs

About the book

For four centuries, New England has been a cradle of crime and murder—from the Salem witch trials to the modern-day mafia. Nineteenth century New England was the hunting ground of five female serial killers: Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E. Nason, and Sarah Jane Robinson.

Female killers are often portrayed as caricatures: Black Widows, Angels of Death, or Femme Fatales. But the real stories of these women are much more complex. In Pretty Evil New England, true crime author Sue Coletta tells the story of these five women, from broken childhoods, to first brushes with death, and she examines the overwhelming urges that propelled these women to take the lives of a combined total of more than one-hundred innocent victims. The murders, investigations, trials, and ultimate verdicts will stun and surprise readers as they live vicariously through the killers and the would-be victims that lived to tell their stories.

A recent review for the book

Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2020

I find True Crime books, like Pretty Evil New England by Sue Coletta, hard to rate. Research is vital, but also, the way the book is written can make it easier or harder. Since the murders took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, I can see why research materials would be lean. Time, fires, and many other things can contribute to that.

I love to hear the characters speak in their own words, and Sue Coletta gave them voices. I love looking into their minds, even though I know I will never understand them. Bad upbringing, nature/nurture…no excuses…whether they are sociopaths, psychopaths, or just plain evil, playing with their victims, it doesn’t matter. A choice is a choice.

Five women: Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E Nason and Sarah Jane Robinson are five people you would never want to be friends with or related to them. They were responsible for more than one hundred deaths.

Males hunt, females gather, and that is how they choose their victims too.

We get the lowdown on the serial killers with their own words, interviews, court transcripts, newspapers, libraries, historical societies…Sue shared glimpses into these five women’s lives. I love learning where they came from, their childhood, their family, marriages, children, friends…

Even when they confess, there is doubt if they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Myself, I doubt it. I think they revel in the attention they receive.

Sue Coletta has included some medical and other related trivia from the times. I love when an author does this. For example, Mercury was a common medical treatment, but when Abraham Lincoln used it and found out for himself how harmful it is, he stopped its use.

Not all questions will be answered, but isn’t that why we read? We want to figure things out for ourselves.

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

A selection of books by Sue  Coletta

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –  AndAmazon UK – follow Sue : Goodreads website/blog: Sue ColettaTwitter:  @SueColetta1 

Another book that I can recommend is Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell..

About the book

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

A recent review for the book

RNB 5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical paranormal fiction!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 October 2020

Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell is a paranormal fiction with a fresh take on the genre. It begins with a road trip across different centuries, where characters – James and Sam – are determined to live the eternal life (after death) to the fullest. It isn’t often that people feel free enough to live the life they want. Society has too many constraints. Plus, there’s no travel machine yet… So, John W. Howell is inviting us to experience something we can only fantasize about.

The novel is an odyssey of two broken or, let’s say, lost souls. An odyssey in any historical event, where you can meet anyone, from Wyatt Earp to Lucifer. A trip into the dark corner of your soul. A journey with unique and individual lessons.

One of the things I admired about John W. Howell was that he can harken back to a golden age of mystery and historical facts, and still keep this work relevant and exciting to contemporary times. I loved the supernatural elements, which were woven seamlessly into the text and dialogues.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the character development of James as he continued to figure out his place and purpose on that Eternal Journey. I felt that Sam brought out many new sides to James’ personality, which were fun to see and explore.

I would highly recommend Eternal Road: The final stop by John W. Howell as an accomplished work of historical paranormal fiction with a theological aspect that fans of the genre won’t want to miss out on.

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

Other books by John Howell

 Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US and on: Amazon UK – Goodreads:John Howell Goodreads Blog: John W. Howell. com – Twitter@HowellWave

The next author with a trilogy of thrillers is Iain Kelly and a recent review for A Justified State: (The State Trilogy Book 1)

About the book

A Justified State opens with a bang and sets the story off to a great start. Danny is a detective assigned to solve the murder of a city consul on New Years Eve.

We follow Danny and a mercenary, Gabriella, on opposite sides of the law trying to unravel a conspiracy that will rock the political landscape forever.

Iain Kelly does a tremendous job at setting the tone and building the world around Danny and Gabriella. The concepts and ideas feel original and it sucks you into their world and political landscape. The characters are well developed and contrasted with each having something different to add.

A very enjoyable read and a writing style I could get behind (which I don’t say likely) which compelled me to keep reading.

A recent review for the book

Mr. W. Lynas 4.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Thriller  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 December 2020

Iain Kelly’s debut novel is a cracking thriller that begins with the assassination of a politician & never lets up until the dramatic conclusion.

Set in an unnamed State in the near future the author creates a totally believable time & place. Unlike some authors Kelly aviods pretentious descriptions of his fictional society & just gets on with the story. The characters & the world they inhabit are perfectly drawn & A Justified State works equally well as a crime story, an action adventure & a dystopian science fiction novel.

The sequel, A State of Denial, is something I will definitely be reading.

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

The other books in the trilogy and a short story collection by Iain Kelly

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And:Amazon US – follow IainGoodreads – website: Iain Kelly WritingTwitter@iainthekid

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Shortstories Sarah Brentyn, #Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Mystery Diana J. Febry, #Memoir Cynthia S. Reyes, #Shortstories Leon Stevens


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

If you enjoy flash fiction then this book by Sarah Brentyn is one to check out. On the Edge of a Raindrop.

About the collection

When You’re on the Edge, It’s Easy to Fall

These are stories of lives on the edge.

A girl tortured by the world within her. A boy powerless to escape his home. A mother doomed to live with her greatest mistake. A man lost in a maze of grief.

Each raindrop provides a microscopic mirror of ourselves and those around us. But we can’t always trust what we see. The distorted images disorient the mind, altering our view of reality.

This second collection of flash and micro fiction explores the depths of the human condition and the fragile surface of our perceptions.

Dive into these tales of darkness and discover what life is like On the Edge of a Raindrop

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

One of the reviews for the collection on Goodreads.

GraemeCumming 5.0 out of 5 stars Savour each morsel… Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 July 2020

It’s fair to say that I like my fiction with a bit of depth. I don’t mean War and Peace kind of depth, but I like a good yarn with layers, ideally a few twists, and characters that feel real, even when they’re a little larger than life. And yet I like short stories, and I always admire a writer who can produce an effective one.

I’m even more impressed, then, when I read flash fiction. At least, I am when it’s well written. As I understand it – and I’m no expert in these matters – flash fiction can be anything from a few words to a few hundred, so it can be very difficult to convey much in the way of a story with so little to play with. Very often, flashes will be suggestive rather than explicit.

Sometimes, they get across a state of mind or being rather than a whole story. Whichever route is taken, for that writing to stir something in the reader – for example, senses of loss, fear or exhilaration – means the author has done their job.

Probably the most famous flash fiction reads: ‘For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.’ Attributed to Hemmingway, though there are some doubters, this conveys so much and is a masterpiece of the genre.

Frankly, Sarah Brentyn’s work easily stands alongside this. Her ability to capture the essence of an emotion or a moment in so few words is staggering. In a single line, she can encapsulate something that many authors would struggle to do in several pages.

Like her first book, Hinting at Shadows, this is a book to savour and not rush. When you’re confronted with stories or essays that cover only a page or even a few lines, the temptation is to read one then leap on to the next. Don’t. Read one and reflect on it. The whole book is only 48 pages long, but what it contains is volumes and it should be read as if that’s the case.
Take your time. Savour each morsel as it’s fed to you. It’ll be more satisfying than you can imagine.

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

Also by Sarah Brentyn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And on: Amazon UK – Follow Sarah: Goodreads – Sarah: Blog – Twitter: @SarahBrentyn

Something for the lovers of psychological thrillers.. A Year in the Life of  Deidre Flynn – by Lucinda E. Clarke

About the book

Deidre is determined to protect her adopted niece Leah, but despite fleeing the country, the menacing threats continue.

They believe their enemies can’t reach them now, so who is behind the life-threatening attacks? The incidents escalate, each more horrifying than the last.

How can they fight back when they don’t know who the enemy is and they have no idea what they want.

A fast-moving, page-turning, psychological thriller that will leave you breathless, as once again, Leah is the victim of a cruel conspiracy that lurks in the shadows.

A gripping thriller for fans of Louise Jensen, Avery Bishop and Claire McGowan.

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

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 06, 2020 Susan Wüthrich rated it Five Stars it was amazing

Another great read from Lucinda.

Leah and teenage Belinda have moved to the South of France taking with them some very inflammatory material belonging to Leah’s ex, Mason, who’s still in the UK languishing at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Soon after, they are joined by Leah’s elderly Aunt Deidre, and Belinda begins home tutoring with the very stern Madame du Pont and her child prodigy, Sophie from the nearby chateau.
After they are introduced to some dubious British neighbours, strange and frightening things start to happen. And when things begin careering out of control Leah and Deidre struggle to maintain a semblance of normality.

This is the third book in the series A Year in the Life of…and having read the previous two, I have to say I enjoyed this one the most. A gripping mystery/thriller with a great story line and a group of dodgy characters made it an absolute winner for me. 

A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke

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

The next books with a recent review is Fiery End (A DI Fiona Williams Mystery) by Diana J. Febry was released in October 2020.

About the book

Driving home late at night, DI Fiona Williams comes across a vehicle engulfed in flames. The driver is at the wheel, oblivious to the inferno surrounding him.

There is no explanation for why the vehicle was on the road or why the quiet tradesman was murdered in such a macabre way. The only witness to the fire, claims she saw nothing.

Whatever she did see goes to the grave with her when she is brutally strangled. Frustration grows when the driver’s daughter disappears.

With time running out to find the daughter alive, Fiona is drawn into a web of powerful men determined to keep their deadly games secret. Juggling a family crisis and a growing suspicion her boss is corrupt, her judgement is hampered by her attraction to the man central to everything.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Valmarp 5.0 out of 5 stars Totally riveting  Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2020

I’m a big fan of the Peter Hatherall and Fiona Williams books, so I was very pleased to see this new addition to the series. Even though the story focuses more on Fiona, it was great to be reacquainted with all the characters in this roller-coaster ride of a mystery. The storyline begins with the two DIs coming across a burning camper van on a dark road and from there on, both the mystery and the suspects escalate. The plot involves deliberate and not so deliberate red herrings. It also involves vice rings, computer puzzles and apps. There are too many victims and loads of culprits but the puzzle is such that Fiona and her partner cannot fathom who is behind the sinister crimes until close to the explosive end of the book. What a page turner this turned out to be. I could barely put it down. This is also the closest Fiona has come to real romance, which in itself made it special. Well done, Diana Febry. A Fiery End was a terrific read and I hope Fiona and Peter will be back before too long.

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

A selection of other books by Diana Febry

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon UK- And Amazon US – follow Diana on:Goodreads  – Facebook page: Diana J. Febry – Twitter: @DianaJFebry

And the next author today with a recent review is Cynthia Reyes, for her gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mary Clark 5.0 out of 5 stars Garden Lessons of Life  Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2020

This is the third in a series, beginning with A Good Home and An Honest House. In this small volume, she wades into the thicket of memory to expose the hardy growth hidden in a fast-paced life. A life halted by a serious car accident, bringing years of debilitating pain and the psychological effects of trauma. Besides the loss of her career, she found she could not do many ordinary things. Gardening and entertaining her family and friends were no longer possible. Home and garden, important threads in her life, were gone. And she was used to being active.

“By my early thirties, I was that rare thing in network television: a young, Black, immigrant woman who was also an executive producer and rising star.”

Years of success led to starting a consultant company with her husband. They bought a new home, an old farmhouse with garden areas, which she looked forward to rejuvenating. Then, the accident, and everything changed.

“If gardening helped keep me sane, it stands to reason that not being able to garden helped drive me crazy.”

As she struggles with her disabilities, her kindness of spirit comes through. Empathetic and perceptive, she finds other ways to make connections and be useful. One of them is writing. She tells stories of people who shared her love of gardens and from whom she learned life lessons.

Years before she had volunteered to care for an older couple’s “secret garden” behind their home. She learned of the couple’s history but refrained from building a friendship so they would not feel obliged to invite her into their house. In time, they did, asking her and her husband for supper. Their backgrounds were quite different, but what they had in common was gardening. “Our conversation started there, thick with talk of moles and cutworms, roses and delphiniums.” But that evening they also shared their life stories and became friends.

She weaves the story of another black immigrant into the narrative. Donald Moore had a lead role in changing Canada’s immigration laws in 1954. He was also a gardener with a greenhouse attached to his home in Toronto. His perennial garden won horticultural awards. He shared his knowledge with Cynthia. One day, she saw a group of small pots and asked what he was growing. Maples, he said. And acknowledged he would not live to see them mature, but someone else would. He gave her a tiny boxwood plant and when she wondered how many years it would take to become a real shrub, he said, “All you need is patience.” She planted it in her garden, and when they moved, she dug it up and took it with her. Every time she saw it, she thought of Mr. Moore and his lesson about patience.

From these lessons, she learned “a slow wisdom.” I recommend reading the first two books before this one. However, it stands on its own as well.

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

Also by Cynthia Reyes

Read the reviews and buy the books – Amazon US – And  : Amazon UK – Follow Cynthia : Goodreads – Website:Cynthia Reyes – Twitter: @CynthiaSReyes

The final author today with a recent review is Leon Stevens. The Knot At The End Of The Rope.

About the collection

A journey to the center of the universe …
Humanity’s final days …
A strange midnight visitor …
A faster than light test with unforeseen results …
Writings found in a desolate world …

These are some of the short stories in this collection, written in the style of the early science fiction writers when imagination trumped scientific knowledge. In addition, some short post-apocalyptic tales and poems are included in this new book by Leon Stevens.

One of the early reviews for the collection

Dec 09, 2020 Catherine Pratt rated it Five Stars it was amazing

I really liked the book. Short stories and poems, what better combo than that. The stories had a little bit of fun in them. Some were funny, some were really weird. Poems in the book were great. Poems were my favorite part of the book even though there were only a few. If you are into short stories then this book is for you. I had a lot of fun reading it and making me think.

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

Also by Leon Stevens

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Leon: GoodreadsWebsite: Lines by Leon Twitter: @linesbyleon

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Romance Linda Bradley, #Paranormal Mae Clair, #Western Sandra Cox, #Stories/Poetry M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Miriam Hurdle


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is Linda Bradley with the romantic first book in her popular series – Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series book 1).

About the book

Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Nov 28, 2020 Colleen Chesebro rated it Four Stars really liked it Shelves: women-s-fiction, romance, literature-fiction, literature

Maggie Abernathy has her Michigan summer all planned out. After a bout with breast cancer, all she wants to do is to recuperate and rejuvenate. Her life as a second-grade teacher was especially difficult this year. To add to Maggie’s problems, she is also learning to navigate life alone after her recent divorce.

When seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John, Maggie’s dull life takes an unexpected turn for the better.

I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. The story was predictable, but somehow, comforting. The romance that buds between John and Maggie is even sweeter because of Chloe.

Chloe’s character clearly steals the show. The child possesses a pearl of certain wisdom that women much older than her often wish for. The only child in what had to be a difficult home, Chloe steals Maggie’s heart.

Written in the first-person, I immediately connected with Maggie’s character. There is a lot going on, and Maggie discovers she must learn to overcome some of her own issues before she can truly find herself. So true to life!

The only downside was that the book ends on a cliff-hanger, and you have to purchase the next book to continue her story. I understand it’s a series, but the author hints at a happy ending for Maggie and John. As is true in most romantic fiction there are always some difficulties in a relationship. It would have been nicer for this book to end on a high note. Still, I would recommend this book because of the interesting characters. I’m debating on whether to go further in the series

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

Also by Linda Bradley

LB_MaggiesForkInTheRoad_400x60051pzpzjto6l-_uy250_

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US –  And : Amazon UK – Follow Linda :Goodreads website: Linda Bradley Author – Twitter: @LBradleyAuthor

The next author with a recent review is Mae Clair for the ghostly  A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant Book 1)

About the book

“Masterful, bone-chilling fiction…one intense thriller. A Thousand Yesteryears will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.” —New York Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien

Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real . . .

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer . .

One of the recent reviews for the book

Brenda Marie Smith 5.0 out of 5 stars What could be better than the Mothman, romance and murder?  Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020

I love this book by Mae Clair! It’s a new and intriguing take on the Mothman, made all the more interesting by a compelling romance (with a second one starting to brew for other important characters), family and personal secrets, and mysterious murders. There are other supernatural elements that I feel would be spoilers to divulge. And the suspense continues to build wither life or death threats to characters we love.

It’s my first time to read a book by Mae Clair and I plan to read many more. Deft writing, fascinating plot, well-developed and realistic characters–some to love and others to hate. What could be better?

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

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on:Goodreads – Website: Mae Clair – Twitter:@MaeClair1

The next prolific author has recently joined the Cafe with her books and here is a recent review for Silverhills by Sandra Cox, a book that I also reviewed earlier in the year and can recommend.

About the book

In the 1870s Brandon Wade is driving a herd of longhorns over the Chisholm Trail when a youth appears out of nowhere riding a magnificent black stallion and packing a deadly looking six-gun. In need of trail hands, Brandon hires the young man. Not until weeks later, during the middle of a terrible stampede, does Brandon learn that his young sharpshooter is a beautiful woman. A woman full of fire and passion who he burns to possess. A woman steeped in mystery who refuses to disclose her past. Alexandria O’Malley is on the run and must be able to disappear at a moment’s notice. When she hires on to the cattle drive, she doesn’t expect the powerful attraction between herself and her trail boss or the response of her treacherous body.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Oct 24, 2020 Pansy rated it Four Stars

Wiping tears – These are bittersweet tears. Yes, there is some sadness. The book is finished. But also sweetness. This was a beautiful story about finding yor destiny, if you will. The story of Alexandria and Brandon . . . Well, it had all the feels. A spectacular meet-cute. Heart stopping action. Forgive me, but I believe the inspiration for the hero and heroine were John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Talk about tempestuous emotions. Even the physical description brought those icons to mind. I think you really need to read this for yourself to get it. A wonderful story with great pacing that grabs and doesn’t let go.

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

A small selection of Sandra’s books

Read the reviews andbuy the books : Amazon UK –And:Amazon US- follow Sandra Cox: Goodreads – Blog: Sandra Cox Blogspot – Twitter:@Sandra_Cox

The next author is M.J. Mallon with a recent review for her poetry and prose collection, Mr. Sagittarius

About the collection

Twin brothers Harold and William love the magic of the natural world.

When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request.

Will his brother William and his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the garden work its magic to ensure that they do.

A magical story expressed via an original compilation of poetry and prose with photographic images

One of the recent reviews for the collection

L. Carmichael 5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, Fun, Good Intro to Author  Reviewed in the United States on November 9, 2020

Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poems, short stories, and charming moments from a group of memorable characters. Written by M.J. Mallon, it’s not the first I’ve read from her collection, but it was time to pick up another this weekend. If you’re searching for a lovely intro to an author’s writing style and the type of stories and tales she writes, this is a great way to discover more. Mallon’s contributed to several anthologies in the past, including one she coordinated and edited herself, but this time it’s all hers!

Two brothers, twins. A sister. Relationships wrought with love, pain, concern, frustration, anger, sadness, and hope. Interspersed with lyrical poems are short, three-to-four page scenes between the family members, others who see them, and lots of beauty focused on nature and the elements. Picture a gorgeous tree in different seasons, a park bench, memories of the family members who once sat on it, and thoughts about the passing of loved ones. That’s what you’ll find here, and it’ll make you treasure your own relationships.

I most enjoyed the autumn and Halloween moments in this collection, as it’s so timely. Mallon has a wonderful way with words, and while I’m not a big reader of poetry, it’s comforting to dive into it on occasion so you can see the beautiful images around you, that you might often look too far past.

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

Also by M.J. Mallon  NB.. This is Lockdown is now available in print.

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

The final author today is Miriam Hurdlewith a recent review for her award winning poetry collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude depicts a road traveled with optimism, hope and appreciation amid heartache and unpredictable circumstances. It also celebrates genuine love and fulfilling relationships.

The poetry collection includes nine themes: Songs of Nature, Songs of Dissonance, Songs of Physical Healing, Songs of Marriage, Songs of Parenthood, Songs of Tribute, Songs of Reflections, Songs of Challenge, and Songs of Inspiration. Each of these themes covers various aspects of her life experience.

The poems are inspiring to the mind, heart, and spirit. The readers will resonate with these experiences. Hurdle illustrates the poems with her photograph and watercolor paintings.

A recent review for the collection on Goodreads

Oct 07, 2020 Teagan Geneviene rated it Five stars

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” strikes the right chord. I need the peaceful feelings of a gentle breeze that these poems put in my mind as I read. It’s as though I smell flowers and see colors, and occasionally imagine a warm hug. I see that the author says she often thinks up her poems while gardening, and this is easy to believe. Treat yourself to something calm.

Read the reviews and buy the collection also in Spanish and Portuguese: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK  – Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle –Blog: The Showers of Blessings –  Twitter: @mhurdle112

 

Thank you for joining me today and I hope you are leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Magic Laura Smith, #Adventure Annika Perry, #Turtles Cynthia S. Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange


Welcome to the Children’s Christmas book fair with books for children up to the age of twelve years old. All of which would make great gifts.

The first author has a book for older children..Laura Smith with Saving Hascal’s Horrors.

About the book

Ten-year-old Mike Hascal loves horror movies. His family owns a horror-themed shop that his sister, Julie, inherited from their dad who died when Mike was only two. Before his death, the shop held a contest to see who could find and photograph a real live ghost. Two teenage boys went into some nearby woods looking to win this contest. One of the boys, Shawn Mackey, never made it out of the woods. Shawn’s father, a teacher at Mike’s school, then forced the Hascal family to close their shop to the public.

When Mike finds out about this, he and his friends, along with his new friend and horror movie lover, Freddy Nickerman, spend the summer planning a search for Shawn’s body in the now forbidden woods. Will Mike and his friends make it out and save the shop, or will the ghost of Shawn Mackey keep them from leaving too?

One of the reviews for the book

10-year old Mike Hascal loves horror movies, and it just so happens that his family owns a horror-themed shop—Hascal’s Horrors. Before his Dad’s death, the shop held a contest to see who could take a photograph of a real live ghost. Two teen boys entered the forest, where the ghost was purported to be, but only one returned. Will the ghost of Shawn MacKay seek revenge on Mike and his friends who are now out searching the woods for his body?

This story has turned out to be one of my all-time favorite pre-teen/teen reads! Smith touches on all the classic hallmarks of middle-school life as her characters deal with peer pressure, bullying, food fights, puppy love, and everything in between. Her main character, Mike, is an average 10-year-old, wondering about the usual things that 10-year-old boys wonder about. He’s an endearing character that shows a good deal of soul and dimension as he learns that you can’t judge everyone can by first appearances and their initial behavior.

“Saving Hascal’s Horrors” is a remarkable coming-of-age/horror story with just a small touch of magic. The tale is quite reminiscent of the popular cult movie “The Goonies”, and it and will likewise take readers along on a grand and noble quest, treating the macabre with wonder and humor as it appeals to the curiosity of pre-teens and the young-at-heart everywhere.

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

Other children’s books by Laura Smith

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Laura: Goodreads –  Blog: Laura’s Books and Blogs – Twitter: @lsmith335  LinkedIn: Laura Smith – Instagram: Laura’s Books and Blogs

The next author is also in the main Cafe and Bookstore, but has written this delightful story for children. Oskar’s Quest by Annika Perry.

About the book

Oskar is afraid of adventures. Yet one day he finds himself on a mysterious island which needs his help.Join Oskar on this unexpected and magnificent quest, where he finds not only courage but so much more…“It’s light, extremely enjoyable and very gripping.” Esther Chilton – author & editor.Perfect for ages 3 to 6.

One of the reviews for Oskar’s Quest on Goodreads

Jan 28, 2020 Erica Henault rated it Five Stars

“Oskar’s Quest” is a beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship. Annika Perry has a gift for writing up, not down to children. Even very young children are attentive, curious and observant. My four year old Granddaughter and I love reading “Oskar’s Quest!” My Granddaughter has already memorized parts of this book, especially the sound effects. She loves following “Oskar,” the blue bird, and “Maya,” the golden bird, throughout the story. Often a key to an engaging children’s book is how the adult also enjoys reading the book over and over and over again. I highly recommend “Oskar’s Quest!”

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

Read the reviews and buy Annika’s books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Annika: Goodreads – blog: Annika PerryTwitter    @AnnikaPerry68

The final authors today are Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange with illustrations by Jo RobinsonMyrtle and the Big Mistake: Myrtle the Purple Turtle Series

About the book

When a lie is told about one of Myrtle’s friends, she knows it’s up to her to make sure the truth comes out. Join Myrtle and friends on this new adventure that encourages children to think about the impact that gossip might have on other kids, to do the right thing and have the courage to stand-up for others.

Myrtle and the Big Mistake is the fourth book in the best-selling children’s series, Myrtle the Purple Turtle, about friendship, kindness, inclusion and self-esteem. Written by Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange, the books have been praised by children, parents and grandparents, teachers, librarians and book reviewers around the world.

A recent review for the book

Tim McCarthy 5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for young children!  Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2020

Myrtle and her friends are back with another story about kindness, friendship, and personal growth. In this new book, the authors have included a guide to help parents and caretakers discuss issues like bullying, lies, and fixing mistakes with young kids. I highly recommend this book, and the entire Myrtle series, for pre-school aged kids.

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

Other books in the Myrtle the Turtle Series

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Cynthia : Goodreads – Website:Cynthia ReyesTwitter: @CynthiaSReyes

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope that you have found some wonderful book gifts for the younger members of the family.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Fantasy Reads – New Release – Jan Sikes – Reviews – Fiona Tarr, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Adele Marie Park, Deborah Jay


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

Today I am sharing books which all have elements of fantasy at the heart of their stories.

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Jan Sikes three days ago Ghostly Interference (The White Rune Series)

About the book

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

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

A small selection of books by Jan Sikes

A recent review for Brother’s Keeper

“Brother’s Keeper” is about love, loyalty and a sense of responsibility that is infuriating, commendable, exasperating and understandable. Well written, this short story has wonderful dialect, which brings the characters to life. The storyline is a good one, and takes a direction that I didn’t expect, but thoroughly enjoyed. Although to his detriment, there is no doubt Quentin is his brother’s keeper. Well done!

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

Now time for some recent reviews

The first author today with a recent review is Fiona Tarr  for Shiloh Rising – The Priestess Chronicles – Volume 3

About the book

An ancient relic, an evil power, a magical priestess. As they collide, the fearless, no-holds-barred battle erupts.

Ariela is surprised when she arrives in Carthage in yet another unknown time reality. Her mission is guided by ancient divinity and no-one is expecting her—or so she thinks. Those who await her are members of her Mother’s ancient Priestess Order. But she quickly realises, all is not as innocent and welcoming as it seems.

Carthage is warring over religion and politics. The conflict reveals truths Ariela isn’t expecting. But when the Priestess discovers she is to assassinate the King and that her Mother’s ancient order has been dabbling in politics, she is enraged. Order must be restored.

When the Priestess’s friend Ophelia senses an evil relic of power, Ariela realises politics are the least of her worries. She must stop the evil spirit that inhabits the relic before she is forced to kill the man who wears it, whether she wants to or not.

A recent review for the book

Sherrie HansenVINE VOICE  Magic and Mystery with a New Testament Backdrop  Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2020

Once again, I am amazed at the way Fiona Tarr weaves together elements of the Scriptures with magic, history and fantasy to craft a breathtaking story. This time, Priestess Ariela is transported forward in time to the New Testament era, to Carthage, where the Catholics are pitted against the Arians, and evil-spirit-possessed kings and a cast of merchants and Senators whose motivations are both unknown and questionable. A familiar entourage of characters paired with a set of new faces and issues round out the story – from the tormented king, his soft-hearted son, Priestesses uncertain of their powers, and a cruel guard. Complex plots and political manipulations are relevant to today’s world although the story is set eons ago. Another good read, highly recommended, as are all of Tarr’s books..

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

Also by Fiona Tarr

Read the reviews and Buy: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Follow Fiona: GoodreadsWebsite :A Time 2 Write –  Twitter: @FionaTarr

The next author today is Vashti Quiroz-Vega with a recent review for Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series)

About Son of the Serpent

In Son of the Serpent, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts another fascinating glimpse into the dark, compelling world of fallen angels and demons, revealing more about their untold stories.

The war in heaven might be over, but the ambitions of the fallen angel Lilith reach far across the roots of history. Will there be a being powerful enough to stop her evil influence before the destruction of mankind?

Dracúl knows he is the son of Satan, but the rest of his memory has been taken from him. Alone and frightened, he awakens in a forest, beginning a quest to piece together who he is. The world he encounters is cruel, but he yearns to belong and find companionship. With each step he takes, another missing piece of his memory falls into place, revealing a truth that is ever more troubling . . .

A truth that will turn his quest for meaning into one fueled by the hot-blooded thirst for revenge. A truth that leads him to Lilith, the most wicked and ruthless of fallen angels and one he soon will have every reason to hate. His quest will consume him, perhaps ruin his life, but somehow Dracúl is determined to find both belonging and vengeance—to be good, in spite of his evil nature and the dark secrets that haunt him every step of the way.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Gwendolyn Plano5.0 out of 5 stars A story well-written and fiercely told… Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2020

Author Quiroz-Vega’s second book of the Angels Series is powerful. It hits hard and runs, never stopping. I had to pause to take a breath and separate myself from some of the drama, but I felt compelled to read to the end. This remake of the Biblical story is curious but also believable. Well edited, well researched, I commend Quiroz-Vega on tackling this epic story.

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

Also by Vashti Quiroz Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US – and : Amazon UK –  Follow Vashti : Goodreads – website:Vashti – WordPress – Twitter: @VashtiQV

 

And the next fantasy author today is Adele Marie Park  with a recent review for Sea Dragons: Wisp II –

About the book

The malevolent and ruthless mage, Dante Asano is defeated but victory came at a horrific price.

Before Wisp and his companions could intervene, Dante possessed Pendra Thorn’s body. In order to stop Dante without killing Pendra, a magic sleep spell was cast.

A glass coffin warded with powerful spells encased her body while her mind fled to a favourite memory; unfortunately, Dante is also trapped with her.

The magical coffin will only keep her alive, and Dante contained for a short time.

A desperate plan to undertake a treacherous journey across an unknown sea means Wisp and his companions must disband. Some journey with Wisp to find an ancient spell to release Pendra and banish Dante’s spirit.

Those left behind must guard Pendra in a city under threat.

An ancient evil casts a shadow over Edra causing burgeoning unrest and setting the inhabitants against one another.

Wisp’s journey must be successful not only for Pendra’s sake but also for Edra itself.

A review for the book on Goodreads

Jul 29, 2020 M.J. Mallon rated it Five Stars it was amazing

I was lucky to be part of the beta reading team for Wisp II and was entrusted with an early copy before release. This a highly imaginative fantasy book with many aspects to it to keep you entertained. It is the second in the series continuing the tale from the first book which I read and enjoyed also.

The story begins with the news of the death of the senior law enforcer Nether Green. Could this be a murder case? Marsh fairy law enforcer Wisp is drawn into the mystery and must try and discover what has happened. Alongside this, there is a change in the tone of writing – becoming darker – in the sections devoted to Pendra who is sealed in a glass coffin. We are whisked away on a trip across the Great Sea to Samoyer, (Wisp’s father’s homeland,) to find a spell to separate Dante from Pendra.

There are times when Park’s writing takes you to a very special place drawing you into the narrative beautifully. An author to watch, a talent in the making.

I enjoyed the amusing dialogue which gave the protagonists a distinct voice and style.

I’d recommend reading the first in the series before continuing with WISP II (which I have also reviewed on Goodreads.)

My recommendation: 5 stars. Read this if you like dark fantasy tales which are full of intrigue, mystery and murder! A definite recommendation for fantasy readers, and may also be of interest to LGBT YA Fiction readers due to the (continuing love story between Wisp and Finn.) 

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

Also by Adele Marie Park

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Adele: Goodreads –  Website: Adele Marie Park – Twitter: @Binky567

The final author today, Deborah Jay has a recent review for her epic fantasy The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series.

About The Prince’s Man

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

A recent review for the book

Robin Cappello 5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!  Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020

I read this book as part of a different boxed set but it’s going to be added separately to the other two in its series as soon as I get them. It deserves it! The male protagonist is cocky but not always as sure as he likes to seem. The female protagonist is an arrogant, know-it-all with her own agenda. And then they’re thrown together in a desperate mission to save the kingdom & the lives of the people they care about. I won’t give lots of spoilers (or why read the book) but there are elves, trolls, dungeons, & a nasty little torture chamber complete with an egomaniac who loves to inflict pain. You’ve GOT to read this book! Loved it!

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

Other books by Deborah Jay

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Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US – And:Amazon UK – follow Deborah : Goodreads – website: Deborah Jay – Twitter: @DeborahJay2

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some fantasy gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Books – #FranceWWII Paulette Mahurin, #Fantasy Heather Kindt, #Reviews – #Pre-Historic Jacqui Murray, #Thriller Daniel Kemp, #Paranormal Cecilia Kennedy


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

First today two new book releases

The first author today is celebrating the release of her latest book which I am delighted to share. Where Irises Never Grow by Paulette Mahurin

About the book

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

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

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

One of the early reviews for the book

Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read!  Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2020

I’ve been a fan of Paulette Mahurin’s writing for a few years now and each time her new book comes out, I grab it right away. “Where Irises Never Grow” is another fine example of Ms. Mahurin’s literary talent. From the opening chapters, in which an old newspaper cutting is found in a first edition of Aesop’s Fables, I was riveted to the plot that ultimately led to Nazi-occupied France and the mystery behind the two names on an old newspaper cutting. I won’t be retelling much of the plot to avoid spoilers, so I’ll just say this: if you’re looking for a meticulously researched French Resistance novel that will pull at your heartstrings and reveal not only love, sacrifice, and devotions, but also atrocities of Klaus Barbie, rightly nicknamed The Butcher of Lyon, search no further.

“Where Irises Never Grow” is a stark reminder of a recent past, in which xenophobia and nationalistic hatred lead to the annihilation of millions of people; it is also a warning for our generation not to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers and apply our all to fight bigotry, racism, and dictators that inspire the ugliest sentiments in their followers. The story of Charlotte and Victor Legrand, the story of Agnès Eisenberg and her beloved Jaques is a must-read for sure. Just make sure to have a box of Kleenex ready – you’ll most likely need it. The ending in which we meet an elderly Holocaust survivor is so heartbreakingly beautiful, it’ll remain with you long after you close the book. A truly timeless novel that should be read by everyone. Highly recommended!

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

A selection of other books by Paulette Mahurin

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

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

The next author with a new release out in time for Christmas is Heather Kindt with The White Door (The Eternal Artifacts Book 3)

About the book

The game is no longer a game.

With the completion of the Red Door and the prize money doubled, Meg is determined to tackle the White Door, a portal she’s been drawn to since they started the game. But when Brek is attacked and almost killed, they are thrust into the new world sooner than they planned.

And it is a world unlike any they’ve encountered before. Within a setting five hundred years in the future, they find a human race on the brink of extinction. The leader had helped a select few escape Earth on a spacecraft before the planet was destroyed, attempting to create a sinless society. The ones who are less than perfect are exiled to a nearby planet.

Traveling to the future, Meg and Brek finally discover the inner workings behind the game and Rosenbaum’s true motivations. They also find out that the people they thought they could trust might be holding secrets far too deep to forgive.

The White Door is the third book in Heather Kindt’s young adult fantasy series. If you like secret societies, masquerades, and family reunions, then you’ll love the third installment of the Eternal Artifacts series.

One of the early reviews for the book on Goodreads

Nov 15, 2020 Rain Reads rated it 5 stars it was amazing  Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, arc

I really enjoyed reading this book. I love that it is mainly sci-fi themed with a mix of fantasy. The story was fast-paced and thrilling that will keep you glued until the end. I like the introduction of new characters and the uncovering of their identities, but the world-building and the stories are getting better and engrossing as the series progresses. Out of the three books in the series, this was by far, my favorite read!

The story is about Megan and Brek entering the White Door to win huge prize money to support their families. The third book started with Brek’s car accident that almost cost his life. And due to a threat in Brek’s life and with Carter missing in action, they decided to escape their pursuers and went straight to the Rosenbaum Mansion.

This book is where all the bombshells will be revealed and the plot has a pivotal part in the whole series. I’m happy that my favorite supporting character was again introduced in this story and I can’t wait to know how she will help the main protagonist in the Black Door. I don’t want to reveal so much and I highly recommend you to read this book!!!

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

Also by Heather Kindt

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK –  follow Heather: Goodreads –   website: Heather KindtTwitter:@hmkindt

Now time for some recent reviews for books on the shelves.

The first author today with a recent review is Jacqui Murray for Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy) A series that I can highly recommend.

About the book

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of the People’s long search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Keith Jahans 5.0 out of 5 stars A story of primitive human survival  Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020

I normally review trilogies by reading the first book in the series but in this case I went against my norm by starting at the last first. This maybe because I have a passing interest in writings about early man and had read some of the works by Jean M Auel, starting with The Clan of Cave Bear, and having enjoyed them.

In this work I did not feel a pressing need to go back into the history of the central character but felt that I knew enough about primitive humans to skip that part. I may have missed out on some of the story but feel that any novel featuring the same central characters should be able to stand on its own. I found this book in that regard was largely able to do that. However, it contained a large assortment of characters with strangely spelt names which probably made who they were and how they interacted clearer if I had indeed started with the first book.

The author had done her research and obviously knew a great deal about the period of which she was writing. This was clear not only from the list of references at the end but also of the descriptions she used in the narrative. Giving such characters depth is a challenge in itself as primitive peoples were far more involved in surviving from day to day than interacting with each other in what we would describe as a social level today. The author manages this extremely well, giving the objects, animals and people that surround them names that were possibly used by humans of that time. The book is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.

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

Also by by Jacqui Murray

Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow Jacqui: goodreads – Blog: WorddreamsTwitter@WordDreams

The next author with a review to share is Daniel Kemp who moonlights on Smorgasbord every two weeks as our guest comedian on Open Mic nights!..The Widow’s Son (Lies And Consequences Book 3)

About the book

Three months before the invasion of Iraq, a member of a Masonic fraternity known as the Rosicrucians escapes from a British Intelligence holding station.

Orchestrated by the head of the Russian Federal Security Service, this event is somehow linked to a the highly classified CIA file only known as Gladio B. Tasked to destroy an unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, the chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee plans to bring the criminals to justice.

But he is running low on both time and allies, as mass annihilation threatens the whole planet. Who are the mysterious eight families that seem to be behind the mysterious events, and what do they have to do with the ancient 33rd degree level of understanding, only known by the mysterious Rosicrucian brotherhood?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Roy Murry, Author VINE VOICE  5.0 out of 5 stars I love a Conspiracy  Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2020

When you get a promotion, you would expect problems; hopefully, that can be solved with help from your cohorts. In Patrick West’s case, his predecessor, Geoffrey, is not upfront with the real situations at hand, which he must confront in his new position.

From the first banter between these two spymasters, Geoffrey’s lies lead Patrick into a maze of international intrigue that elitists have festered. Many characters are involved in a diabolical conspiracy.

Sorting it out is Patrick’s job as head of a British Joint Intelligence Committee. What he uncovers after finding out the truth, culminates into a near disaster.

This novel is the third in a trilogy, beginning with ‘What Happened in Vienna Jack?’ then, ‘Once I Was a Soldier,’ that I have read because of Mr. Kemp’s grasp of English (UK) language. The tit for tat of the main character’s lucid conversations kept me turning the pages to see what came next.

I love a conspiracy novel of fiction, particularly one that leads to an unpredictable ending. It would be best if you started by reading book one. However, this novel stands on its own.

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

A selection of other books by Daniel Kemp

Read the reviews and buy the books also in audio: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Daniel: Goodreads – Website: Author Danny Kemp – Facebook: Books by Daniel – Twitter:@danielkemp6

The final author today is Cecilia Kennedy with her debut collection of paranormal short stories, The Places We Haunt

About the collection

When a pastry-obsessed ghost follows Audrey M. K. Summons back to her apartment, Audrey feels compelled to write the story—along with a few others she has collected. The resulting manuscript becomes The Places We Haunt, which a literary scholar discovers when Audrey dies. To the scholar’s surprise, the pages magically fill with more stories from beyond the grave, so she publishes the book in order to put Audrey’s spirit to rest. This collection of 13 eclectic dark tales takes place in museums, swimming pools, houses, restaurants, the cemetery, and outdoors in nature. The stories told are sometimes humorous, absurd, pensive, or cautionary. Those who tell them, don’t even realize they’re dead.

One of the recent reviews for The Places we Haunt

Suzanne 5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully spooky  Reviewed in Canada on August 29, 2020
 

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US And:Amazon UK – And : Amazon CA – follow Cecilia: Goodreads –  BlogFixin Leaks n Leeks DIY – Twitter:@ckennedyhola

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Release #History Mike Biles, Reviews -#Family Lisette Brodey, #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #History Joyce Hampton


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is Mike Biles who has written a succinct and entertaining history of Britain that I can highly recommend. He has a new release just in time for Christmas. A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays.

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.

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

Also by Mike Biles

A recent recent review for A Bit About Britain

Eduardo Ruggiero5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read from start to finish Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2020

Refreshingly concise, it breaks Britain’s complex and often dramatic history into fascinating chunks, without the unnecessary and let’s face it – often relatively dull detail that so many history books give us. A Bit About Britain’s History gives the reader the opportunity to decide for themselves which periods interest them most (it’s the War of the Roses for me!) and has the power to convert anyone into a history lover.

Hugely engaging and often witty, it’s definitely the sort of book that knowledgeable historians and complete novices can enjoy alike.

I have already given four copies to my English- speaking family members in Brazil, and the others all keep asking me when the Portuguese version will be available!

 

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

Now for some recent reviews.

The next author is Lisette Brodey who is a recent addition to the  Cafe and Bookstore, with a review for the coming of age novel, The Sum of our Sorrows

About the book

In an idyllic suburb in Northern California, tragedy strikes the Sheppard family when Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is killed in a car accident. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car with her mother and survives without physical injury but remains deeply scarred on the inside.

Dalton tells Lily, his eldest daughter, that she must sacrifice long-awaited college plans and put her life on hold to take care of her sisters. Lily is torn between her devotion to family and an increasing need to find her place in the world — but how can she leave, knowing her family may crumble? Will her presence eventually cause more problems than it resolves?

The Sum of our Sorrows reveals how the aftermath of a family tragedy can precipitate sorrows never imagined. It is a tale of grief, hope, healing, coming-of-age, friendship, and survival. It is also a love story of two broken souls living through pain in search of better days and the renewal of one’s spirit.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write characters as I hear them speak to me. Some of these stories contain non-gratuitous expletives and sexual references. This book also contains some situations that may be triggering to some readers. If this is not to your liking, please don’t read this book. Thank you.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Journey 5.0 out of 5 stars Another 5 Star Story  Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2020

Another five-star tale from Lisette Brodey. I have to admit, I was pretty certain I would like this one when I first read the title. THE SUM OF OUR SORROWS describes the premise of the book perfectly. When the mom of the family is killed in an accident, grief gets hold of the family and seems it will never let go. Adding to that huge sorrow is the dad’s insistence that Lily, the eldest daughter, must take over the household while putting her own dreams on hold indefinitely. I turned the pages wildly, hoping to discover that Lily would find a way to escape this travesty of injustice, hoping—at the very least—that her father would come to his senses. But of course, life isn’t that easy, and therein lies the story. Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster of a read, but rest assured, happiness and romance are out there, all is not lost. The ending satisfies. Kudos, Ms. Brodey. Kudos! ;

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

The next author today with a recent review for her paranormal novel is Roberta Eaton Cheadle and Through the Nethergate. You will also find books for children by Robbie and her son Michael in the Children’s Cafe.

About the book

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 13, 2020 Jessica Bakkers rated it Five Stars it was amazing

When I started ‘Through the Nethergate’ I thought to myself, “Ooo, a good old fashioned ghost story!” Then suddenly, author Roberta Eaton Cheadle went and changed the rules. Ghosts became semi solid, famous (and infamous) figures from history were involved in socio-political intrigue, and the Big Bad was nothing short of Lucifer himself! I’ve rarely come across a book with such left of centre twists and turns, where the stakes rise and rise until it literally turns into an epic battle between good and evil.

Amidst all that, Cheadle weaves in historical nuggets about characters, places, and events spanning from Roman times right up to the late 1900s. Her history accounts are very well researched, and I found myself learning a lot about historical characters and events that I only had a passing knowledge of.

Somewhat reminding me of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’, ‘Through the Nethergate’ pits the forces of good against the literal forces of evil. There’s a strong message (or two or three) about the state of humanity and its dwindling morals and ethics, but the message doesn’t get in the way of the story. The same goes for an underlying theme of religion; it’s present, but does not come across as pontifical, and just because the author explores religious themes, this is not a pious read; expect horror, gore, and some disturbing moments.

‘Through the Nethergate’ is one heck of a surprising read. The characters are numerous and fleshed out (no pun intended!), the story twists and grows into something epic, the horror is nicely done without being over the top, and the end is deeply satisfying. A solid read I can highly recommend.

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

A selection of other Sir Chocolate stories co-written with Michael Cheadle and other books by Robbie Cheadle

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Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Robbie on : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration –  Twitter: @RobertaEaton17

The next author today with a recent review is Audrey Driscoll for her latest book Tales from the Annexe: seven stories from the Herbert West Series and seven other tales

About the collection

Seven stories from the world of Audrey Driscoll’s Herbert West Series, followed by seven other tales of illusions, delusions, and mysteries on the edges of logic. Discover Herbert West’s connections to Egypt, and how a dead man can help solve a mystery. Share Charles Milburn’s ruminations as he explores another dimension of his friendship with Herbert. Sample the treats on offer from an ice cream truck from Hell. Ride along with a dad who abandoned his ten-year-old son in the woods where something howls. Find out why a woman paints her bedroom a very special colour. Watch fifteen-year-old Ann as she tries to prove she belongs to the glamorous family on the other side of town. These and seven other curious encounters may be found in this annexe to the ordinary.

A recent review for the collection

Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2020

Having read all the author’s Herbert West novels, I was curious about the additional glimpses into that world afforded by this collection of stories. I enjoyed them all, with one of my favorites being “A Visit to Luxor” (I’m partial to the character of Andre, West’s only fully successful effort at resurrection). “One of the Fourteen” is chilling, and The Night Journey of Francis Dexter” is a must-read for Herbert West fans. I thought the weakest of these treatments was “The Nexus,” the introductory story. It isn’t something that grabs the attention and compels the reader to continue. Quarrington didn’t come to life for me. It might have been better placed at the end of the initial seven tales.

Actually, I enjoyed the final seven stories the most. They are great examples of the range of the author’s imagination, and her concluding comments on what inspired these stories was revelatory. She has the ability to work magic into a reality setting, even if the reality takes place in a constructed world (“The Blue Rose,” which reminded me a little bit of LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.”) I had read “The Ice Cream Truck from Hell” on the author’s blog, but I believe it has been reworked a bit and turned out perfect in the suggestiveness of its conclusion. “The Colour of Magic” was excellent, and “The Glamour” was definitely a favorite. The author’s ability to write great descriptive passages continues unabated.

I recommend this collection, even if you aren’t familiar with the Herbert West series. The concluding seven stories certainly make it worth the price of an ebook.

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

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – And:  Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website:Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

The final author today brings us full circle back to history an another book that I can recommend. The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy  by Joyce Hampton.

About the book

The Huguenots were the most successful refugees to leave their homeland in search of freedom. The book tells of their questioning of the established Catholic faith in France and continues through the rise of Calvinism, the wars of religion, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and the global diaspora of the Huguenots. It examines the national events that shaped their times, and brings to life some of their personal stories of persecution and flight, and how they travelled far and wide to begin new lives with the promise of religious and personal freedom.

The book not only tells their history but informs the reader of the numerous, diverse and ingenious inventions, many of which are still much in evidence in our lives today.
The book focuses mainly on France and the United Kingdom but within its covers can be found a kaleidoscope of information of their worldwide diaspora. Included within its pages are countless, often previously unpublished, Huguenot family histories set against the events they lived through.

The book covers 500 years of history from 1517-2017 and includes many courageous and selfless acts of Huguenot descendants during both world wars and identifies many well-known individuals who have Huguenot ancestry.

There is also information on how to research your Huguenot ancestors. The book has been described as a factual novel as it embraces both dedicated meticulous cross-referenced research with the easy read of a novel. A book with a difference that will suit both academic scholars and those who have very little knowledge of the Huguenots but would like to know more.

My review for the book October 27th 2020

This book is not just about the unique history of the Huguenots, which is compelling, tragic and inspiring, but is also how the legacy of these refugees from religious persecution enriched the lives of millions today around the world.

Covering 500 years this book takes us through the wars, revolts, betrayals and eventual sanctuary found in England and other parts of Europe, as well as the far outposts of the  world in later centuries including South Africa. As refugees they were generally made welcome as the Huguenots brought with them a wealth of artisan skills which were highly regarded in their host countries, a strong moral and work ethic, and a belief in community and its well-being.

The author shares detailed histories of the countries of origin and the host nations.  The Protestant and Catholic conflicts of the middle ages onward were a time of great uncertainty.  Your religion was subject to a change in status on a frequent basis as kings and queens ascended the various European thrones. This included the thrones in Scotland and England during the 15th and 16th centuries.

It was fascinating to learn more about the various artisan skills that the refugees brought with them and re-established in London and some other major cities in England, Scotland and Ireland. The author gives detailed accounts of these such as silk production and spinning, gold and silver work, clocks and watchmaking, architecture and design, furniture making and printing. On the medical front leading doctors and scientists established protocols and advances in obstetrics and the establishment of pharmacies. Over the centuries Huguenot business leaders set in motion commercial ventures that are the origins of the Bank of England and our stock market.

It was interesting to discover that many well known authors, artists and actors that have brought their talent to the arts around the world were of Huguenot ancestry.

As well as the detailed history of the Huguenots as protestants from diverse nationalities, Joyce Hampton also shares the stories of individuals with a background to their reasons for seeking sanctuary, and how they brought great benefits to the adopted countries. These bring a personal element to the book that I much enjoyed, especially as it brought some people and events in my own life to mind. I had not given any thought to the name of my teacher in South Africa for example, but from the book I discovered that Miss Du Plessis was of Huguenot origins.

I can recommend this book to history lovers, genealogists and writers of historical novels as the detail and research is impeccable. For those researching their family trees it is a great reference for identifying possible Huguenot connections over the last 500 years, particularly if you originate from London or other major cities where the refugees settled.

More than anything, I came away from reading the book with a sense of hope. Today we see parallels to the religious persecution of 500 years ago, with millions still fleeing oppression and seeking sanctuary which is often denied. Without the acceptance and integration of Huguenots within our society, many of the advances in science, economics, commerce and the arts would be sadly lacking in our modern world. We need to take on board some of the lessons from the past.

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

Also by Joyce Hampton

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Joyce  : Goodreads – Website:Not Just Another Book Twitter: @NJABOfficial

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair -#Astronaut Jude Lennon, #Friendship Donald Lloyd Jnr., #History Barbara Ann Mojica, #Pirates Jann Weeratunga


Welcome to the Children’s Christmas book fair with books for children up to the age of twelve years old. All of which would make great gifts.

The first author today is Jude Lennon with a recent review for Astronaut Lamby:  Book One Little Lamb Tales

About the book

“Astronaut Lamby is ready to go,
He’s in his rocket, the engine’s aglow”

Join Lamby as he whizzes through the stars, lands on the moon and meets a rock which is not as it seems…

Astronaut Lamby is the first in a series of books about Lamby the face of Little Lamb Tales.

A recent review for the book

Adam Searle 5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure into space  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 October 2020

I enjoyed reading this book and following Lamby’s adventure into space. Lamby, who is the authors Jude’s mascot, is very appealing and the alien who guest-appears in the book will be a hit with the children too. This is a easy story for children learning to read and will appeal greatly.

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

A selection of other books by Jude Lennon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other Reviews: Goodreads – Website and shop:Little Lamb Publishing – Facebook: Jude Lennon Author – Twitter: @JudeLennonBooks

The next author with a recent review is Donald Lloyd Jr. for his recently published The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends 

About the book

Ever wanted to make a new friend but were not sure how? Have you ever met someone and instantly knew that you would be friends? “The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends” is a story about finding a friend, learning how to be a friend and realizing that a true friend can be anyone from anywhere!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Kelly Kreis 5.0 out of 5 stars Very cute and fun loving story!  Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2020

The Adventures of Monkey and Toad : Two Remarkable Friends, by Donald Lloyd Jr., shows that no matter our differences in life we all have feelings and can all get along together. This is a beautiful story to teach children about making new friends, and being loving to others who come from different backgrounds, or do not look the same as they do. Not only is this a story for children, but it’s one that adults need to remember and keep true to as well. Everyone is different in this world and that what makes us all special!

Read the reviews and buy the book:Amazon US –And: Amazon UK – Read reviews:Goodreads – Author Pages: Amazon US –And: Amazon UK – Facebook – Donald Lloyd  – InstagramDonald Lloyd Author – Twitter@DonaldLl0yd

The next author today is Barbara Ann Mojica with a recent review for her latest book…Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INDEPENDENCE HALL & The Museum of the American Revolution

About the book

The United States Constitution is the oldest federal constitution in existence. This document, along with the Bill of Rights, lays out the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. The Founding Fathers embraced the principles of the Enlightenment and a vision of liberty and justice for all. Trace their footsteps at Independence Hall and the Museum of the American Revolution.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Diane Mae Robinson, Multi-award-winning children’s author 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Series!  Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2020

The Little Miss History series is fantastic! Barbara Ann Mojica’s latest edition takes us to Independence Hall and the Museum of the American Revolution to teach us about the founding of the U.S. government. The illustration and photograph combinations, along with precise writing and an amazing character in Little Miss History herself, makes the adventures super fun. I love everything about this book and the entirety of this multi-award-winning series! Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Other devicesBarnes & Noble

A selection of books by Barbara Ann Mojica

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – And Amazon UK – Follow Barbara Ann : Goodreads – Blog:  Barbara Ann Mojica – Twitter: @bamauthor

The final author today is Jann Weeratunga with a recent review forPolly’s Piralympics: Paralympics for Pirates (Polly’s Piralympic Games Book 3)

About the book

The Pirates compete in their own Paralympic Games – the Piralympics. Meet Polly the Parrot and the multicultural pirates from across the world. Bagpipe-playing Scottish Pirates; Abba-singing Viking Pirates; Tattooed Maori Pirates; Yellow-turbaned Indian Pirates, Guitar-playing Cowboy American Pirates and Vuvuzela-blowing Zulu Pirates as they all compete for GOLD.

Polly’s, one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed, Pirate’s armed with their new prosthetic blades, arms and wheelchairs compete in – walk the plank diving, climb the rigging gymnastics a three-legged race plus more. Find out why coconuts don’t make good footballs and follow the Pirate chefs in their own Masterchef Competition.

One of the recent reviews for the book

That’s What She Read 4.0 out of 5 stars Yar Matey! Read this book!  Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2020

Pirates, galleons, and swords, oh my! An engaging story that mirrors the world paralympics but with pirates! This is an exciting story that celebrates inclusion and multiculturalism with a generous sprinkling of pirate speak. Throughout the book, the reader is asked to draw their favourite ship..thus creating an interactive experience. I would love to have seen some illustrations sprinkled throughout this book (maybe a future edition?) but nevertheless and engaging read!

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

A selection of books by Jann Weeratunga.

      

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –And:Amazon UK –  Follow Jann:Goodreads – Website:Kids Books Without Borders – Twitter: @Jannweeratunga

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.