Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – Share your Children’s book reviews – #PictureBooks with Jennie Fitzkee Part Two


Welcome to the new series where you can share your reviews for any children’s books you have read recently and posted on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads or any other online bookstore. If you would like more details here is the post that explains how it works: Showcasing Children’s books

Recently Jennie Fitzkee shared part two of her recommended books from the summer and I am sharing some of the books that she featured along with her reviews.

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My Summer of Books – Part 2 – picture books, and bridges to older children’s books by Jennie Fitzkee

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Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud, by Lynn Plourde

Buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A Model T Ford is ‘stopped in the rud by some pigs in the mud’. Grandma is in charge. The rhyming is classic and draws in the reader. “Oh no. Won’t do. Gotta shoo. But who?” The story goes from pigs to hens to sheep to bulls – and the descriptive words have a wide range from squealed, rutted, reeled, tussled, rustled and many more. These aren’t typical vocabulary words for children, making the story all the better. We see farming life in the early 20th century, with a classic sequence of events. From the rhyming to what happens next, the book is delightful.

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Fireboat, the Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, by Maira Kalman

Buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

I reviewed this as part of an Eric Carle Museum post. It was a favorite summer read.

Are you familiar with the John J. Harvey fireboat? I wasn’t either. It was launched in New York City in 1931, the same year Babe Ruth hit his 611th home run, and Snickers hit the candy stores. The popular word Hot-Cha was invented.

The book opens with events and structures in New York City, such as the George Washington Bridge suspended over the Hudson River.

All the illustrations are beautiful. The reader becomes part of the city in years gone by. Time passes. We learn about the working parts of the fireboat and the crew. The John J. Harvey helps to fight the fire on the ocean liner NORMANDIE. Sometimes it goes out in the water just to celebrate, shoot water, and have fun.

By 1995 there were many fireboats, and the Harvey was set to be retired and sold for scrap. Of course the people who loved her rallied to save and buy the boat. She was repaired and spent her days on the water, visiting other boats. Did you know that four toots means hello?

Then something terrible happened at 8:45 AM on September 11, 2001.

The John J. Harvey wanted to help and get back to work. We learn what each crew member was doing at the time, before they rushed to the fireboat. No, she was too old to fight the fires, but she could help rescue people… and then at last she got “the call”, she was needed to supply water to the firefighters. She was once again a real fireboat.

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Love You When…, by Linda Kranz

Buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

The past school year began with reading Only One You, and ended with reading You Be You, both by Kranz. This summer I scored a hat trick by discovering her third ‘rock’ book, Love You When… The trilogy is a warm and delightful collection of stories about being yourself, finding your way, bravery, family, and love. Children at school loved the first two, and this new discovery will be all the more meaningful with school reopening during the pandemic. Why? It is these affirmations of being okay and feeling grounded, which children desperately need to hear right now.

The book opens with, “Do you think of me during the day?” you ask. “Yes,” I say as I close my eyes for a moment and smile. In a voice as soft as a whisper you say, “Tell me when.” Each page has a beautiful photograph of rocks and the “when” words – “When a gentle breeze rustles through our backyard wind chime.” Every page, every photo, every “when” moment is beautiful and comforting for children.

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Prairie Days, by Patricia MacLachlan

Buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

The glorious illustrations by Micha Archer bring an abundance of life to Patricia MacLachlan’s intentional and soft words. The story takes place over a summer day on the farm. The opening sentence is, “Where I was born, the earth smelled of cattle and bluegrass and hyssop.” Dogs, hay wagons, the farm pond, trains, sheep, and the wooden porch swing are woven into a childhood story. The reader is left feeling the slow pace and happiness of years gone by.

The author won the Newbery Award for Sarah, Plain and Tall. She wrote my favorite book, The Poet’s Dog, and many others. Patricia MacLachlan has a way with words. Just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be a book as good as The Poet’s Dog… there is, and MacLachlan wrote it – My Father’s Words.

Stay tuned for Part 3 as I review this outstanding book for older children and the other upper grade books I read this summer. Jennie.

Some wonderful books for you to choose from and I will share part  three in a few weeks time.. My thanks to Jennie for her lovely reviews.

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie – Blog: Jennie Fitzkee – Facebook: Jennie Fitzkee – Twitter: @jlfatgcs

 

My thanks to Jennie for permitting me to share her children’s reviews and I know she would love your feedback. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Recent Authors in the Cafe -#Dark Humour Carol La Hines, #History Joyce Hampton, #Fantasy Paul Andruss


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

There have been some new editions to the Cafe over the last few weeks and in the last two posts of the series I would like to remind you of their books.

Meet Carol LaHines

I am a life-long New Yorker. I went to New York University and St. John’s School of Law and now live in Tudor City, a charming neighborhood near the United Nations. I was a practicing musician and a lawyer before becoming a published author. While practicing law at a big law firm in New York City, I began writing fiction. I published short stories over a period of years, in journals like Fence, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, Cimarron Review, redivider, Sycamore Review, and others.

Someday Everything All Makes Sense is my first published novel. I was able to mine my knowledge of the law and music theory in telling the story of Luther van der Loon, an eccentric harpsichord who has recently suffered the trauma of losing his mother. Luther is preoccupied with existential questions and questions concerning temperament, the mathematical ratios that govern how we hear music.

Like most of my writing, the novel might be characterized as tragic-comic. I believe, like the great Italo Calvino, that “lightness” — by which I mean to say a sense of playfulness leavening the serious — is a cardinal virtue of writing. (I love Calvino, Joyce, Nabokov, Woolf, Borges, Melville, Chekhov, Gogol, Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy, Sebald…

One of the recent reviews for the book

DJ Stram 5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing and a memorable main character!  Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2020

Carol LaHines has created a unique and realistic character, and I hope this book becomes a film so I can see Luther van der Loon on screen! Luther is a lovably neurotic medieval music professor whose mother dies eating takeout from their favorite Chinese restaurant when a rubbery won-ton becomes trapped in her throat. There were many surprises, and I found myself suddenly laughing loudly along the way as I turned the pages, wondering what would become of Luther without his dear mother.

Luther is not unlike those of us who have lost loved ones, but he is unlike anyone I know in his obsessive observations as he moves through his grief–very slowly.

If you love quirky characters and humor, this book will not disappoint. In addition to Luther, there are sub-characters who contribute to the dark humor. Piccolo Fabrizzi, a visiting music professor deserves his own book–plenty of rich character and so aptly described by the author.

If you are looking for intelligent writing, highly amusing characters, and ample humor, Someday Everything Will All Makes sense is a great fit!

Carol LaHines, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK –  follow Carol: Goodreads – Website: Carol LaHines – Twitter: @CLahines

Meet Joyce Hampton

I was born in Stratford E15 and moved around various areas of London before finally settling in Surrey with my husband John and our two cairn terriers.

I began writing in 2012 and my first book was: Looking back – A century of life in Bethnal Green, this book evolved from tracking other people’s recollections as the primary source material, partly family anecdotes, of the amusing, sad or serious into a written record. This research was supplemented by cross-checking documented events, in London libraries and archives to ensure that the book is both easy to read as well as being factually correct. I gradually found that I had created a walk through time account of the Bethnal Green area of the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes the Bethnal Green tube disaster of 1943.

My newest book is The Story of the Huguenots: A unique Legacy. It is a 500 page book but with a difference as it is a FACTUAL NOVEL in other words it has the factual history of the Huguenots but written in the expected format of a novel in the belief that the reader will find it more engaging and will want to discover more about this amazing group of people. The book is divided into four parts (all within the one book). I also take bookings for talks and lectures on the subject, including, as an example, a slot at the annual Write Idea Festival in London (November 18) which was to a very appreciative audience of over 100 people.

Books by Joyce Hampton

One of the reviews for the previous edition of The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy

What I had been searching for some time was a concise yet comprehensive history of the origins, sufferings and contributions of these brave and industrious people. The author does not fail to deliver on any of these, and the writing style Joyce Hampton employs makes the entire story so easy to read that even if you knew very little about the subject beforehand, you will gain so much learning and enjoyment from reading this. I particularly enjoyed the way In which the major events, such as the Edict of Nantes, as well as the Revocation, are described and evaluated whilst simultaneously the reader is provided with personal accounts of people’s often horrific experiences of such religious intolerance. You’ll be able to feel what they went through, and of course, many of these lessons still resonate with us today. Sometimes neighbour helped neighbour; sometimes, they didn’t. The story is as up to date as any such story can be – twentieth century events are narrated, and you’ll learn of events that took place even in 2017 too. I do not hesitate to recommend this book to all.

Joyce Hampton, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Joyce  : Goodreads – Website:Not Just Another Book Twitter: @NJABOfficial

Meet Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss returns to the limelight with a brand new edition of Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer (Book 1). It has been published by Black Wolf Books

Born and reared in Liverpool, the city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark on the young Paul Andruss. After dropping out of sixth-form, because he was keen to get out into the world, Paul took his A-levels at Bootle Tech Night School, while working for the local Tax Office. He applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University on the grounds that anything was better than work. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when his application was accepted.

After graduation Paul worked in rugged Cumbria, Manchester and London before moving to Turkey. To finance his passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of the ruined cities and temples he visited. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign.

Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in rural South Wales in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult, magical realism, Jack Hughes trilogy and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool, a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All works are scheduled for release with Black Wolf Books, an exciting new, independent Scottish publisher.

One of the reviews for the previous edition

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A magical read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 November 2017

Just about the worst thing that can happen to any family is the disappearance of a child. This is exactly what happens in Jack’s family and, worse still, Jack is a witness to his older brother’s sudden and troubling disappearance.

The facts of the disappearance are very peculiar and, subsequent to his disappearance, Jack receives strange telephone calls from his brother, Dan, on his cell phone. When he answers, Dan says nothing and the line goes dead. Jack finds himself unable to tell anyone about what his saw that day, as soon as he tries he starts to choke and can’t utter a word. Then a strange tramp appears who speaks only in rhymes. The tramp, whom only Jack can see, seems to be able to pass through walls and disappear at will. All of this is against a background of stress at home due to Jack’s mother suffering from a chronic illness.

Jack finds himself embroiled in the magical kingdom of the fairies and soon discovers that their failing world is tinged with evil. Jack and his friends experience an array of mystical and strange happenings including travelling by fairy ley lines and disappearing into a living tapestry.

Author Paul Andruss has an expert knowledge of mythical creatures and the world of the fairies which he shares with the reader using the most beautiful and expressive language. He pulls you into this fairy world, which exists in parallel to our own and which is fraught with difficulties due to human technology and progress. This book also shares valuable lessons about everything not being as it appears to be and the value of strong friendships.

Who is the strange tramp and what does he want from Jack? Can he help Jack to find his brother and bring him back before it is too late?

A few beautiful quotes from this book are as follows:

“Beautiful,” she signed, mesmerized by the shifting hues washing over the weave like skeins of mist.”

“Drifts of heady perfume left Jack heavy-eyed, yet giddy with recklessness.”

“The tramp was back on Mr Gibson’s wall. All he could think about was the poem. Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there… He wasn’t there again today… I wish that man would GO AWAY!”

This book is suitable for readers aged from 11 years and older. Adult readers will also appreciate the delightful prose, beautiful imagery and clever story line.

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USWebsite: Jack Hughes Books  –  follow Paul: GoodreadsTwitter: @Paul_JHBooks

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share…one more post to go in the series tomorrow with more recent authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors new to the Cafe – #Fantasy Adele Marie Park, #Fantasy Freya Pickard, #Paranormal Cecilia Kennedy


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

There have been some new authors and books to the Cafe over the last few weeks and in the last two posts of the series I would like to remind you of their books.

Meet Adele Marie Park

I love writing, it`s my passion. My genres include fantasy, horror, urban fantasy, and a mixture of all those. I love telling stories;period. I am married to my wonderful wife, who is my rock.

Our daughter and our dog, german shepherd collie cross, are also my passions. To experience a moment of pure love is to experience the world.

Creativity is something I couldn`t live without.

I am also a Supernatural geek, and love my music. Punk, Goth, Rockabilly and visual Kei music from Japan.

The paranormal is my normal. oh, and I also totally believe in faeries

Books by Adele Marie Park

One of the early reviews for Sea Dragons

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars An atmospheric dark fantasy filled with suspense, murder, and magic!  Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2020

“Sea Dragons” begins with Wisp, a Marsh Faerie Law Enforcer, as he waits inside the office of the new Senior, Nether Green, an elf with considerable law enforcement experience to show for a planned meeting.

He reminisces about the events of the last six months, and recalls the death of his Senior officer Bartholomew at the hands of Dante Asano, and how Lady Pendra Thorne’s childhood home was now her mausoleum, where she lays sealed inside a glass coffin warded with spells. Wisp, Finn, and Arutha watch over the princess in the glass coffin day and night.

After an hour there is a knock at the door. Wisp learns there’s been a murder, and the new Senior is the victim! Even stranger, the new Senior is found hanging from a rope, made to look like a suicide.

After a visit to the scene of the murder, Wisp quickly picks up on a few prominent details and comes to the assumption that the new Senior was indeed murdered. Now, Wisp must solve the murder of another dead elf!

Meanwhile, at home, Finn discovers Pendra convulsing within her glass coffin. Finn summons his mother to help him deal with this new situation.

Inside the glass coffin, Pendra’s mind retreats into a favorite memory of childhood comfort, where she tries to maintain her sanity; unfortunately, the evil Dante is also trapped inside her body. In this state of flux within her mind, Pendra learns the horrible truth of the ancient evil that controls Dante Asano and his plan to rule Edra.

The magical coffin will only keep Pendra alive, and Dante contained for a brief time. To save her, Wisp and Finn and his family have to remove the evil Dante without harming Pendra.

When it’s decided that there might be a spell which will separate Dante from Pendra, Wisp and the others set off for Samoyer, a land across the Great Sea. The only problem is, Finn’s father, Slait, has a price on his head if he returns to his homeland. Yet, without this spell, Pendra will die and Edra could cease to exist.

Park has woven an atmospheric dark fantasy filled with suspense, murder, and magic! Through thoughtful detail, we’re introduced to a world filled with dragons, elves, goblins, faeries, and many other creatures where the laws of magic govern the land.

Park’s portrayal of the evil Farloaeth, the ancient harbinger of doom, reminded me of the Norse’s “Wild Hunt,” which added sensory details to the story in unexpected ways. She filled the book with plenty of twists and turns, which kept me reading long into the night.

The end was a total surprise, which stops on a bit of a cliffhanger. My mouth literally dropped open when I read the last pages. I never saw it coming.

I’ve been a fan of this author’s novels, since I stumbled upon some of her short- stories in several anthologies published within the writing community. Read “Wisp” and then delve into “Sea Dragons” as the books are not standalone novels. If you love fantasy, you will love these characters.

Seriously, I can’t wait to find out what happens in the third book. With Park’s creativity, the sky is the limit! Many thanks to the author for providing me with an advanced reader’s copy of this book.

Adele Marie Park, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Adele: Goodreads –  Website: Adele Marie Park – Twitter: @Binky567

Meet Freya Pickard

Freya Pickard is the Author of The Kaerling series, an epic fantasy set in the strange and wonderful world of Nirunen. She writes mainly fantasy tales, with some poetry thrown in, whilst juggling with running a Bed & Breakfast and trying to read as many books as she can. She has published 13 e-books and 6 paperbacks so far. Having survived cancer, Freya is not afraid to explore the darkness and finds her inspiration in the ocean, beautifully written books and vinyl music. When she has time, she likes to bake bread and is learning how to sketch the characters from her stories!

One of the reviews for The Rusalka Ritual

“The Rusalka Ritual and Other Stories” is a selection of 5 short fantasy stories, all featuring the formidable Dracomagan, in some places a warrior woman in a fantasy world, in others an apparently normal(ish) woman in this world, but always an important and powerful figure.

The stories range from atmospheric and tantalizingly fragmented (“Echo Peak”), to creepily fey (“The Rusalka Ritual”), to zanily off-the-wall (“A Picnic at Knole”). It’s never made clear if Dracomagan is the same person, or who exactly she is or how she inhabits different worlds; all the stories are open-ended and leave much up to the reader to decide. If you (like me) enjoy that kind of thing, you will probably enjoy the way the stories work together to create a picture of a world (or worlds) and character (or characters), but if you require your stories to be neatly wrapped up with a bow at the end, this is probably not the collection for you.

Along with Dracomagan, several of the stories feature other interesting female characters, making this a worthwhile read for people looking for some female-focused fantasy. The stories are quite short, meaning that you do no more than dip your toes and whet your appetite for the intriguing world the author has created, but it’s a fun introduction and could be good reading for fantasy fans looking to catch a quick fantasy fix on the bus or over lunch, without worrying about getting lost in the kind of complex epic narratives the genre favors. A charming quick read of slightly off-beat fantasy.

Freya Pickard, Buy:  Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Blog: Dragonscale Clippings WordPress – Twitter: @FreyasClippings

Meet Cecilia Kennedy who joined the Cafe this last Thursday with her debut short story collection.

Cecilia Kennedy lives in the Greater Seattle area, where the mountains, pines, and occasional Puget Sound views serve as inspiration. Before moving to Washington state, she taught Spanish and English composition courses in Ohio for over 20 years. Since 2017, she has published numerous short stories in literary magazines and anthologies online and in print. In her spare time, she also chronicles her humorous attempts at cooking and home repair on her blog “Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks.”

Cecilia Kennedy, Buy: Amazon US –  and: Amazon UK – And on: Goodreads –  BlogFixin Leaks n Leeks DIY – Twitter: @ckennedyhola

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Writing Jane Sturgeon, #Poetry Leon Stevens, #Coming of age Bette A. Stevens


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Jane Sturgeon

Jane Sturgeon has been a systems analyst, trainer, technical author, painter, psychic medium, furniture restorer, de-clutterer, therapist and creative. She has lived in Africa and The States, looked after many farms, loved through two marriages, is Mum to an extraordinary young woman and loves making things. She lives next to the Mersey River where it meets the Irish Sea and shares her life with loved ones and an impressive collection of yarn.

Self-awareness is the first book in her Writing on Water series. Her creative services can be found at janesturgeon.com and more information can be found on her blog

A recent review for Writing on Water

Stuart Crowe5.0 out of 5 stars READ AND READ AGAIN Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2020

A short book maybe, but certainly a thought provoking book. Certainly a book if I had read a week or so ago, I certainly would have had second thoughts about questions I asked. If I had of read it year and years ago, there would have been certainly more thoughts given to the question of where and what do I do now. A very interesting read and a little bit of an insight into someone else’s life and thought processes. A book that needs reading again.

Jane Sturgeon, Buy: Amazon UK And : Amazon US – Follow Jane: Goodreads –  blog:Jane Sturgeon WordPressTwitter: @JaneSturgeon3

Meet Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education.

I started to write poetry and song lyrics to make sense of the world around me. Along with my poetry, I also published a book of my classical guitar compositions. I then began to blog, for much the same reasons, but has since turned into an avenue for my odd sense of humor. I enjoy making people laugh, chuckle, or at least smile a bit (it’s always hard to make someone actually laugh when they are alone). I created the cartoon “The Miniscules” ( Instagram @lines_by_leon), which is is a low res (very) avenue for my weird ideas.

During this current crisis I have been writing and composing more. “The Lockdown Hoedown (Quarantine Reel)” came about after hearing how some musicians were using the isolation as inspiration to create new works and cover songs of their favorites. Despite the name, it’s a cheery tune.

I am currently writing a series of short sci-fi stories and some post-apocalyptic tales/poems called The Knot at the End of the Rope. My short stories are influenced by the early sci-fi writers when imagination trumped technological knowledge.

One of the recent reviews for the collection by Lola of et la vie on 15th July 2020

I loved this poetry collection. It is only short and quite light-hearted, even if it deals with some deeper subjects. To be honest, I found it a breath of fresh air and it was a joy to read.

I liked the cadence of the poems a lot. The author is a musician and songwriter as well and I think some of that is reflected in the poems, which sometimes feel like pieces of lyrics in the best possible way. It was easy for me to connect to them and to visualize what the poet was talking about. A lot of them made me smile, mostly in recognition!

There are some illustrations scattered throughout that add a nice touch. At the end of a book the addition of a graphic novel element and some fragments of short stories should feel out of place, but somehow do not.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and I will be buying myself a physical copy. I will keep an eye out for anything else Leon Stevens publishes in the future.

Highly recommended! Lola (Link to full review on her website)  

Leon Stevens, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Leon: GoodreadsWebsite: Lines by Leon Twitter: @linesbyleon

Meet Bette A. Stevens

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). The author is currently (2019) working on two poetry collections. MY MAINE: Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry & Photography Collection (2019).

Books by Bette A. Stevens

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One of the recent reviews for Dog Bone Soup on Goodreads

Jun 07, 2020 Erica Henault rated it Five Stars

“Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey” is an engaging, heartwarming, coming of age story taking place in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I vividly remember this time period where we also had one of the first televisions on our block.

The protagonist in this story is Shawn Daniels, the eldest of four children. He grows up in a poor, dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. Many of us can relate to how alcohol addiction affects people close to us or even within our families.

Shawn’s character is inspirational in how he thrives and succeeds despite many challenges and obstacles in his life.

Bette Stevens expertly weaves “Dog Bone Soup” throughout the story. Shawn’s Mother, Henrietta, displays strength of character, persistence and deeply rooted work ethic keeping food on the table and making a home for her children. The food is often soup made from the leftover bones from the butcher. Henrietta does whatever it takes to raise her children, modelling values and expecting the best from them.

Bette Stevens also shows us how love and nurturing can come from many different people throughout a child’s life.

“Dog Bone Soup” is uplifting and enjoyable. I found myself often smiling, reading about the children’s fun games and antics.

Bette Stevens does an excellent job capturing the time period. The characters are timeless and relatable.

“Dog Bone Soup” is a beautifully written and entertaining story. I found this book captivating from the beginning to the end. I highly recommend “Dog Bone Soup” for teens and adults of all ages!

Bette A. Stevens, BuyAmazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thriller Richard W. Wise, #Fantasy Sue Vincent and Stuart France, #Lemons Valentina Cirasola


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Richard W. Wise

Richard Wise is the author of three books. His latest novel, REDLINED, a mystery thriller with a literary twist is set in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood was in paperback, e.book and on Audible in June 2020. REDLINED was nominated for the National Book Award. Play the book trailer and the bottom of the author’s Amazon page.

The author’s first book: SECRETS OF THE GEM TRADE, THE CONNOISSEUR’S GUIDE TO PRECIOUS GEMSTONES was originally published in 2001, the second edition appeared in 2016. Extensively revised and rewritten, the 2nd edition has added 127 pages, 11 new chapters, 5 new introductory essays and 161 additional photographs.

Mr. Wise’s second book,THE FRENCH BLUE, a historical novel published in 2010 was the winner of a 2011 International Book Award in Historical Fiction. The novel is set in the 17th Century gem trade. Called “a fine piece of historical fiction” in a 5 star review by Midwest Book Review, THE FRENCH BLUE tells the back story of the Hope Diamond and the true life adventures of 17th Century gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.

Richard Wise has enjoyed a diverse career. He is a veteran of the U. S. Coast Guard. After receiving his B.A. from the University of Rhode Island, he spent most of the decade of the 70s as a professional community organizer. Wise headed organizing projects in Massachusetts and Rhode island. In the late 1970s he left organizing and apprenticed as a goldsmith. He studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of American and received his Graduate Gemologist diploma in 1985. He founded his retail company R. W. Wise, Goldsmiths, Inc. in the early 1980s and began traveling internationally, buying gems and writing about them in 1986.

Mr. Wise’s articles have appeared in Gems & Gemology, Lapidary Journal, JQ and Colored Stone. He is a former Gemology Columnist for National Jeweler and Contributing Editor at Gem Market News. The author retired from retail in 2012 to pursue his writing. Currently, he writes a book review column for Gemmology Today Magazine. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Books by Richard Wise

One of the recent reviews for Redlined

Christopher Smargie 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced thriller with a legitimate reason for being Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2020

I really liked this novel. It’s a powerful indictment of Boston’s inner-city way-of-life in the 1970s, yet the issues it grapples with are still, unfortunately, relevant today, in 2020. The author portrays characters who are grappling with the twisted forces which are undermining their daily lives in a gritty section of the city. This is not a Boston for the slick magazine covers or the artsy dilettantes. This novel is as real and down-to-street-level as you can get while still delivering everything that action-thriller fans are looking for. Read it. It’s burning with tension and taut indignation.

Richard W. Wise, Buy: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK – follow Richard: Goodreads –  Website: The French BlueFacebook: Richard Wise Books

Now time to meet two authors who work closely together and also have published their own individual books

About France and Vincent

The writing partnership of France and Vincent has a peculiar alchemy of humour, scholarship and vision that has given birth to many books, including the The Triad of Albion and Doomsday series’ as well as a number of unusual tales presented as graphic novels.

Stuart France – writer and mystic; author of The Living One and Crucible of the Sun. Stuart has a deep and practical knowledge of the Western Mystery Tradition, having followed a Path that has taken him hopping through the branches of the Trees of Knowledge and Delight. His astonishing work with symbolism and the interpretation of myth comes from a profound understanding and love of life and humanity. After gaining his BA in Philosophy and Literature, and his MA in Writing, this Child of Light studied with OBOD, AMORC, and the Servants of the Light and is a Director of The Silent Eye School of Consciousness. Stuart blogs at somethingferal.com.

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, esoteric teacher and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of The Mystical Hexagram with Dr G.M.Vasey. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also writes at scvincent.com.

The Silent Eye School of Consciousness is a modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. With students around the world the School offers a fully supervised and practical correspondence course that explores the self through guided inner journeys and daily exercises. It also offers workshops that combine sacred drama, lectures and informal gatherings to bring the teachings to life in a vivid and exciting format. The Silent Eye operates on a not-for-profit basis. Full details of the School may be found on the official website, The Silent Eye

Please visit Amazon to view all Sue’s books and those written with Stuart France.

A recent review for Mr. Fox The Legend

I purchased the hard copy of this graphic novel and I was very pleased that I did. The artwork is very visually appealing and really adds to the enjoyment of this intriguing and mysterious story.

I was not familiar with the legend of Mister Fox or the dance which tells his story until I read this book. I was intrigued by the story of the crow that hatched a devious plan to steal the sun from old man fox who cared for it. The way in which the crow tricks old man fox and his vixen daughter reminded me of other myths and legends I have read, in particular, Brer Rabbit, which was a great favourite of mine when I was a girl.

Of course, as with all good tales, the crow gets caught and punished and is doomed to spend his life trapped in time, where he is cast by old man fox and his fox troupe, and surrounded by “seven leaping tongues of flame.”

The next part of the book tells the tale of how the story of Mr Fox came to in Yorkshire and associated with certain sports and revelries which have survived over the years.

According to this book, the fox dance is still performed on the night of the Hunter’s Moon in a secretive and mysterious way. The identities of the dancers are also a secret and only known within the dance troupe.

An informative, entertaining and beautifully illustrated graphic novel.

Sue Vincent  Buy:Amazon UKand:Amazon US Blog: S.C. Vincent Goodreads:Sue Vincent  – Twitter: @SCVincent
Stuart France:Amazon UKand: Amazon US – Goodreads: Stuart France – websiteFrance and Vincent
Meet Valentina Cirasola

I am Valentina, Italian born, my hometown is Bari the capital of Puglia region. I was born into a family of artists, designers and food connoisseurs. When I moved away from my family and started to cook for myself out of necessity, it was as if by miracle, all those years watching, eating and tasting translated into doing. I recalled the perfection how every dish was supposed to look and taste. Watching my family and eating good food every day, gave me the expertise of a professional chef. I had the first funny episode in my cooking life and the only one of this kind: once, I cooked spaghetti without adding water in the pot and of course it was as if I had started firecrackers in my kitchen.

Today, living in America, among many things, I spread lightheartedness and joy, while passing my notions of good life and good health through eating real food. Through public speaking and appearances, I educate and inspire people to eat real food and think of cooking not as a chore but a fun moment of the day. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on your favorite music or TV program and start cooking with joy, then set your table in a harmonious way, sit down and enjoy the product of your cooking whether there is a family or not eating with you. You are important and your soul will rejoice if you pay attention to it.

I am a passionate cook, avid reader, speak four languages and I trot the world. I also take interest in cuisines of the world and I am especially interested in food in the history. These are all the pleasurable parts of my life that have prompted me to start writing books.

However, my main profession is in interior designing with a special focus upon Kitchens. What a better designer than the ones who cook! My passions are showing up in every aspect of my life. I have been in business as a certified interior designer since 1990, working in my company Valentina Interiors & Designs and have served a variegated group of fun people in Europe and in the United States. To remodel homes and to turn unattractive spaces into castles is the specialty of my business, but to design kitchens and wine grottos is my love, as you can imagine. Those are the rooms of a home that make people feel good.

One of the most fundamental areas in people’s lives is the HOME. Home is where people return to relax; a place that props anyone up in time of crisis. It is the center of everything and a lot of the answers to questions of life are there. In simple words, I love to harmonize people’s lives by finding their excellence, creating their energy with colors and adding beauty, while designing their palates as well. I care that everyone deserves to live in beauty and harmony.

Previous the interior design business, I was a fashion designer and owned my Atelier Valentina from where I created original one of a kind fashion. Now, so many years later, I have incorporated fashion in my interior design business and create powerful personal images for high rollers professionals and people who care to look good for themselves first in every moment of the day.

I have loved my professions for so long and never have given signs of wanting to quit. My books are the reflections of my passions. Welcome to my world. Benvenuti nel mio mondo.

Books by Valentina Cirasola

One of the recent reviews for Naked Lemons on Goodreads

Jul 08, 2020 James rated it Five Stars it was amazing

Naked Lemons is a wonderful short read by Valentina Cirasola. The book shares her personal experiences from using them in food to preparing cleaning products and facial masks. Who knew this colorful fruit could provide so many options? Immersing lemon peels in oil, using them in pasta dishes, as an alternative to chemicals. Wow!

As a brief background, the author is a designer and creative artist who has worked all around the world. In this book, she provides a few recipes for delicious meals and most importantly, her own concoction for limoncello, a tasty Italian drink. I’ve had several versions, both in a local restaurant that makes their own here in NYC and while on the Amalfi Coast a few years ago.

Between the beautiful photos, recipes ideas for design and decoration, and the tips and tricks for taking care of your skin and body, this book is an ideal delight to lend you many ideas for how to make some changes in your life. Courtesy of someone quite wonderful, I now have fresh lemon seeds from her own trees so that I can plant my own. I can’t wait to see what comes up!

Valentina Cirasola, Buy:Amazon USWebsite: Valentina DesignsGoodreads: Valentina Cirasola Goodreads – Twitter: @ValentinaDesign

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Memoir Joy Lennick, #WWII Paulette Mahurin, #Mystery J.A. Newman


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and the most recent. Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Books by Joy Lennick

A recent review for “My Gentle War”

Jan 05, 2020 Roberta Cheadle rated it Five Stars

My Gentle War is a delightful memoir about the life on a little girl, aged seven years old when war was declared in 1939, and her family as they navigated the changing landscape of everyday life in war time Britain. Joyce’s family lived a middle class life in Dagenham, London when the war started and her father and his brother, Bernard, signed up with the Royal Air Force to go and fight. Joyce’s parents decide that it will be safer for her mother, two younger brothers and herself to go and live with her family in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The book describes in great detail the difference between her father’s beautifully cultivated garden filled with gorgeous flowers in Dagenham and the wild and lonely beauty of life in the Welsh mountains. Her father’s sadness at having to ruin his garden by building a bomb shelter in the middle of it is the first insight the reader has of the changes that are going to come.

The second insight comes when the author describes the chaos of Paddington Station when her father leaves to go and fight in France and the rest of the family depart for Wales. It is not that easy for an evacuee to fit into life in a rural village, but Joyce and her brothers are young enough to do so without to many problems and, other than one incident when Joyce has a broken glass bottle thrown at her, they all settle into their new life and school. The hard life in Wales is detailed through the memories of the little girl who sees the poverty and learns about the hardship inflicted by the depression prior to the war, on this mining town. The risks of mining are also described through the chronic lung disease suffered by her uncle and the death of a young cousin in the coal mine. The joys of life for children are also expressed with the town arranging concerts staring the children, a picnic and other forms of entertainment. During the early part of the, the bombs do not reach Wales and the food shortages have not as yet bitten.

Throughout the war, Joyce’s family go between places of refuge, initially Wales, and their London home which they return to when her father is home on leave and intermittently while her mother is doing war work in London.

For the last part of the war, Joyce and her brothers become real evacuees are are sent to live with strangers away from London and the buzz bombs. This particular part of this memoir made me realise how fortunate my own mother was during her days growing up in the war. Her family never had to leave their home town of Bungay and were able to stay on their farm throughout the war.

I really enjoyed this memoir which reads like a conversation and tells of life for Joyce and her mother and siblings in Britain and also tells of some of her father’s experiences of the war in France, including the lead up to the evacuation of Dunkirk, through extracts of his diary and letters home. For people who are interested in World War II and particularly every day life for people during this terrible time, this is a wonderful and eye opening book.

Joy Lennick, Buy : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

Meet Paulette Mahurin

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

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

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

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One of the recent reviews for The Old Gilt Clock

Barely Audible 5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating historical figure  Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2020

Willem Arondeus was a fascinating historical figure, and one that you don’t hear of very often. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that the Dutch are left out of a lot of WWII stories in general, or maybe something more insidious like the fact that even eighty years later people still seem to have a problem with that fact that he was gay, but his is an important story all the same. Willem Arondeus was a man who took the pain of his life, someone who was persecuted for his sexuality, and used it to do whatever he could to stop the nazis from identifying Dutch Jews. He was someone extraordinary would did not have that goal in mind. He was just someone who wanted to do what was right. It’s stories like his that make me wonder what people like him would have been like if they’d been given a chance to live somewhere that he didn’t need to risk his life and be hated for who he was. To paraphrase, “Pity not the land that has no hero, pity the land that has need of a hero.”

Paulette Mahurin, buyAmazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Paulette  : Goodreads – Blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on WordPress –  Twitter: @MahurinPaulette

Meet J.A. Newman

J.A. Newman was born in Kent. As a young child she relied heavily on her imagination to amuse herself. At primary school she was repeatedly told off for daydreaming and at senior school she filled her rough note books with comic strip stories. On leaving school she enjoyed a career in hairdressing and owned her own business whilst living in Hertfordshire. In 2008 she retired to Cornwall with her husband where she found inspiration for much of her writing.

J.A.Newman has kept a diary for most of her life, the inspiration for her memoir titled ‘No One Comes Close’. This is an emotional roller-coaster set in 1966 and 1987, published in 2017.

Her second publication, published in 2018, ‘Where There’s a Will’, is a lighthearted tale of rags to riches.

And last but by no means least ,’Bay of Secrets’ is a haunting novel of intrigue, love and loss set in her favourite part of Cornwall.

She is currently researching for a historical novel set in the English Civil War.

Books by J.A. Newman

One of the reviews for Bay of Secrets

Dr. R. J. Westwell 4.0 out of 5 stars review of ‘Bay of Secrets’ by J.A. Newman  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 April 2020

This charming novel is a must for someone who wants to revel in the warmth of close family ties in Cornwall. The mystery of the death of Jayne’s father hovers over the family’s personal involvement with ‘Seawinds’, a property in Cornwall that is in an idyllic position overlooking the sea. As the plot progresses readers are bathed in the beauty of the surroundings as they follow the lives and loves of the family that is inextricably involved. Credible Cornish characters come into play as readers become absorbed in the story.

The mystery is finally resolved and we are given an understanding that time is no barrier where the love for the family and Cornwall are concerned.

J.A. Newman, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Blog: Julie Ann Newman WordPressTwitter: @julie3wwn

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed meeting more of the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and discovering their books. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Children’s Toni Pike, #Humour J. E. Pinto


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Books by Jacqui Murray

A recent review for Survival of the Fittest
Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars  Very Engaging  Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2020
Verified Purchase
The story of five tribes of early man searching for living space is fiction, of course, but it is well researched and based on events that might have happened 850,000 years ago. These tribes traveled great distances looking for land that would provide their basic needs: food, water, shelter, and safety from other tribes who may want to drive them out, kill them, or even eat them.

Author Jacqui Murray expertly develops the main characters of each tribe, revealing their emotions and personality traits which are not so different from our own. But much more so than our modern man, these people, by necessity, had to be resourceful, fearless, and incredibly tough. Only the fittest would live to carry on.
The title of this fascinating novel is perfect. “Survival of the Fittest” is a book I did not want to put down. I was very happy to know there was more adventure to come in “The Quest for Home,” Book Two of this series.

Jacqui Murray, BuyAmazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow Jacqui: goodreads – Blog: WorddreamsTwitter@WordDreams

Meet Toni Pike

Toni Pike’s main passions are writing, travelling and spending time with family and friends, and she believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day. After starting her career as a veterinary surgeon, she later taught high school and had a successful career in the public service. She now lives in Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

Pike is the author of Dead Dry Heart – a psychological thriller, and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: The Magus Covenant, The Rock of Magus, The Magus Epiphany and Holy Spear of Magus.

She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. The One Way Diet is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. Happy Travels 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

Books by Toni Pike

One of the recent reviews for Brody Cody

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious fun for kids  Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2020

This book is a hilarious and fun read for young readers aged 7 to 13 years old. It is quite reminiscent, with its quirky and slightly dark humour, of Roald Dahl’s books, in particular, it reminded me a bit of James and the Giant Peach where James’ parents are eaten by a rampaging rhinoceros.

Cody, the young hero if this book, is raised by his relaxed and nonchalant father after his mother is mowed down unexpectedly by a runaway bus. Cody is spared because he flies out of his pram and across into the hands of the police constable who catches him like a baseball.

Cody is a happy boy who lives with no rules and little parental intervention. His father works from home in the afternoons, and is not given to checking on Cody’s homework or making sure it is done. They have an interesting diet too that comprises of sweet and sickly cereal in the morning and some fabulously unhealthy father created meals in the evenings.

Cody is happy and doesn’t believe he needs a mother like other children have. He has freedom and he is happy living with his father.

One day, Cody’s father needs to go away to an out-of-town conference. Cody cannot go with him and is sent to his friend’s home for this period. Cody’s friend has a mother and she sets about trying to mend Cody’s lackadaisical ways. Just before Cody is due to go home, he gets a quick call from his father telling him he has met and married a woman he met at the conference.

Cody is horrified and returns home quite determined to reject this new mother, but things don’t go quite according to plan. Cody discovers things about his new mother than lead him to believe she is an alien.

This really is a rollicking good story and young children will love it.

Toni Pike, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1

Meet J. E. Pinto

J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs. Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.

Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books.

A review for Daddy won’t let Mom Drive the Car

CuteAsADaisy  4.0 out of 5 stars Back Eyes  Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2020

As a mother of a daughter who is legally blind I absolutely loved listening to this book. It a group of short stories from a blind mother with a mix of life lessons, cute stories, frustrating moments from ignorant and some just plain rude people. She even included her solution to problems like using hot glue (brilliant and Thank you!) to baking recipes. I loved the stories about her “Back eyes” all mom’s have them! Whether you are blind or not this is a great book for parents in any stage. I liked the little stories format and would love to hear more from this author. The narrator did a great job and was easy to listen. This was a really fun and quick read.

J. E. Pinto, Buy:Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow J.E. Pinto : Goodreads –  Facebook: Author J. E. Pinto

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed meeting more of the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and discovering their books. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Childrens Victoria Zigler, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Contemporary M.C.V. Egan


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Victoria Zigler

My name is Victoria, but most of my friends and family call me Tori. Feel free to do the same.

Born in the shadow of the black mountains in Wales, I now live by the sea in the south-east of England, with my husband, Kelly, a chinchilla named Mollie, a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie, a Cavapoo named Logan, and a Hermann’s Tortoise named Artemis.

Having battled with glaucoma since birth, I now find myself completely blind. But I haven’t let that stop me from chasing the dream I’ve had since I was a young child: the dream of becoming a published author. Though it’s been said many times by many authors, I’ve loved to read and write since I learned how, and always wanted to get my work published. Finally, in 2012, I made that dream come true by self-publishing the first of my books as an eBook via Smashwords. Several more titles have been published since, with paperbacks and audio books also being made available. So now I’m a published author of several poetry collections, as well as a long list of children’s stories.

I love everything to do with animals and nature. Though I’d rather not get too close to spiders and other creepy crawly things. That love of animals was a huge factor in my choice to become first a vegetarian, and then a vegan, though there were other things that influenced my decision too.

Please visit Amazon or Victoria’s website to view all her books.

One of the reviews for Witchlet on Goodreads

Robbie Cheadle rated it Four Stars

The Witchlet is a lovely story about a nine year old girl, Paige, who is a witch. Paige is an obliging girl who is happy to assist other people in need but she has a quick temper and bears a lot of unjustified guilt due to an unfortunate accident, when she was only three years old, when her uncontrolled magic powers resulted in her cousin being injured and permanently disfigured. Paige’s aunt has never forgiven her and when she comes to visit, Paige’s mother hides all indications that she is a witch.

Paige is frustrated and the reasons are threefold: 1. her father was not able to cope with the idea of her being a witch and left her and her mother to manage on their own, 2. people do not have faith in her abilities initially due to her age and she is tired of being treated like a child, although she is one and her powers don’t change that fact, and 3. her guilt and her aunt’s attitude towards her which are things she has been unable to change.

In this book, Paige performs an act of magic which saves the life of a three year old girl, a feat for which the girl’s grandmother is extremely grateful. When Paige’s aunt comes to visit after this piece of magic, certain disclosures and events are put in motion which will change life for Paige. Will these changes result in positive changes to Paige’s life? You’ll have to read the book to find out

Victoria Zigler, Buy: Amazon UK – and : Amazon US – Follow Victoria on: Goodreads – Website: Victoria Zigler – Twitter: @VictoriaZigler

Meet D.Wallace Peach

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

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

Please visit Amazon or Diana’s website to view all her books.

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A recent review for Legacy of Souls

Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, great action  Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2020

Legacy of Souls, Book Two of the Soul Swallowers Series, works well as a stand alone or as a sequel to the first book. It has been a while since I read the first book, and I wondered how well I could get back “into the zone.” No problem. I was pulled in immediately, getting to know and love the good characters, worrying about their safety when the bad characters came along.

The premise that one could swallow the soul of a deceased person and feel their influence, good or bad, plays a substantial role in the story. In some cases, having wisdom passed on through the soul stone can change the outcome in a dangerous situation. In other cases, swallowing a soul with more active skills, such and swordsmanship and discipline is even better. The important thing is to choose wisely and sparingly, lest madness take over.

The plot to save a kingdom and a loved one is believable, allowing that we are in a fantasy world, a world built beautifully by author Diana W. Peach. Her choice of language helps to set the scenes effortlessly as the action keeps us turning pages. As I read this novel, my one fear was that my e-reader would need its battery recharged before I could finish the book. I recommend this book to anyone who won’t mind losing a night’s sleep when they can’t put the book down.

D. Wallace Peach, Buy:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

Meet Fiona Tarr

My fantasy novels are fast paced, character driven historical stories with strong mystical, spiritual and theological themes mixed with elements of the classic heroic/epic fantasy genre. My writing was first inspired by the heroic fantasy style of David Gemmell, but I have most recently been compared to Traci Harding.

I plan on releasing a new fantasy novel every year for as long as I possibly can and I always appreciate legitimate feedback so please don’t forget to review my work when you have read it.

It turns out writing is in the blood. My Great Uncle was George Johnston (My Brother Jack) and although I don’t claim to have his renowned literary style, I do write a mean fantasy novel.

I find culture, faith, philosophy and sociology intriguing and these topics are at the heart of my fantasy.

I live in Noosa, Australia with my husband and two sons and I run a small business involving tourism and watersports. Occasionally I dabble in advocacy, mentoring and spend time on my personal entrepreneurial pursuits. When I am not writing I am either kitesurfing, stand up paddle surfing, travelling or volunteering in some capacity. I love cheese, chocolate and living a creative life.

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One of the reviews for Reign of Retribution

Sherrie Hansen VINE VOICE  5.0 out of 5 stars The Sacrifices Made for True Love  Reviewed in the United States on June 11, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed Fiona Tarr’s latest book, propelled by the theme of love and the sacrifices we are sometimes asked to make for true love. As Princess Sheba struggles to find her way in the brutal world of Old Testament times, warring kingdoms and religious conflicts, she is thrown into a battle of good and evil, zealots, idolators, opposing dieties, arch angels and believers of the one true God. Many facets of love are explored – love of family and the loyalty that comes with it, love of carnal pleasures and selfish pursuits, love of God, misguided love, and the romantic pull of true love. The characters are either noble, endearing and admirable, or cruel, twisted and hateful, and both will hold your attention to the end. The goal is to preserve the line of David, from which the Redeemer will come to save mankind. With the stakes so high, yet seemingly impossible, you will read with tears in your eyes, even for believers who know the final outcome firsthand. Thought-provoking and highly recommended.

Fiona Tarr, Buy: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Follow Fiona: GoodreadsWebsite :A Time 2 Write –  Twitter: @FionaTarr

Meet M.C. V. Egan

M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan. She is a multilingual multicultural author of Literary Fiction. Originally from a very large family, her passion for writing was fueled by the childhood need to make her voice heard.

M.C.V. Egan has lived Mexico, France, Sweden and the U.S.A. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.

Maria Catalina is married and has one son. Her hobbies include astrology and other divination tools used in some of her writings. She loves to cook and create fabulous meals for family and friends, dabbles in variety of crafts.

http://www.TheBridgeofDeaths.com

Books by M.C.V. Egan

One of the recent reviews for Defined by Others

Michael Thal 5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets Will Destroy You  Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2020

Do you have a secret? Most of us do. In the words of author MCV Egan, “If you share a secret it will no longer be a secret.” To keep your secrets safe, keep them to yourself, for they give you power. And if you share your secret, “…it will destroy you!” Keep this in mind as you read Egan’s superbly written novel, Defined by Others.”

Written in the first person narrative, Anne Geyer tells her tale of betrayal and lies. At age 47, her husband Frank pulls a “Grace and Frankie” by coming out of the closet, from a closet, to let Anne know he’s leaving her for a man. Who turns out to be her high school friend, Connie’s husband, Mike.

Like on the Netflix blockbuster show, “Grace and Frankie,” Anne and Connie pull together to fight their depression and lost lives.

Meanwhile, a frenemy, Amanda, from Skvallerby High School, dies. She leaves Anne an organized social media game to meddle and spy on the lives of mutual acquaintances. Anne and Connie embrace the game in an attempt to escape their own reality, and the consequences could prove deadly.

Defined by Others is a 170-page novel exploring the darker side of relationships causing readers to pause and think of their own friendships and loves and how our treatment of others affects each of us in different ways.

The author’s characterization is authentic, the plot is excellent, and the dramatic climax unexpected and dramatic.

Defined by Others is an excellent read and provides an opportunity to wonder, “What would I have done if placed in Anne’s position?”

M.C. V. Egan, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow M.C.V. Egan: Goodreads –  Website: The Bridge of Deaths – Twitter: @M_C_V_Egan

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed meeting more of the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and discovering their books. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Writing Denise O’Hagan, #Children Wanda Luthman, #RomanticComedy Jack Lindsey


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Denise O’Hagan


Denise is a Sydney-based editor, writer and poet. She has a background in commercial book publishing and assists independent authors through her own imprint Black Quill Press.

Her poems are widely published and awarded, and she is Poetry Editor for Australia/New Zealand for Irish literary journal The Blue Nib. Her debut poetry collection, The Beating Heart, was published by Ginninderra Press and available on Amazon for August 17th 2020.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Charleann Davis 4.0 out of 5 stars A real eye opener an look at real style  Reviewed in the United States on March 29, 2020

A real eye opener about style.Opens your eyes to a lot of options.Never expected so much for! A mini style book.It’s opened my eyes in A lot of ways .Thanks so much for a great book.Can’t wait to see what’s next by this multi talented author.

Denise O’Hagan, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Denise:Goodreads –  website: Black Quill Press –  Twitter: @DeniseOHagan3

Meet Wanda Luthman

A Multi-Award-winning children’s author, Wanda Luthman, utilizes her expertise in both mental health and guidance counseling to infuse each of her children’s stories with social/emotional messages such as forgiveness, perseverance, self-acceptance, and love conquering evil. She writes fantasy adventure stories that show lives being changed by the magic of love. She is a former National Pen Women Organization of Cape Canaveral. She belongs to the Florida Writers Association, Space Coast Authors, and Brevard Authors Forum. She lives in sunny Florida with her two adorable yorkies and 15 rescue feral cats (all fixed responsibly and still residing outside and on her porch in their colony)! She loves the outdoors and finds it a great source of inspiration whether she is riding her bike, swimming, or walking.

Books by Wanda Luthman

One of the recent reviews for LIttle Birdie Grows Up
KimWard 5.0 out of 5 stars Good story.  Reviewed in the United States on May 12, 2020

My daughter and I enjoyed it very much. It was sad at the end though. I can see us reading this again and again

Wanda Luthman, buy: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Wanda: Goodreads – Blog: Wanda Luthman WordPress-  Twitter: Wandalu64

Meet Jack Lindsey

Jack Lindsey is a penname of Keith Jahans. He formed Peatmore Press as an on-line magazine in 1996 to publish and promote his writing. In 2008 he left his microbiology job at Defra’s Veterinary Laboratories Agency and established Peatmore Press as a Limited Company the following year.

His first novel, Cogrill’s Mill, was released as an e-book in 2005 and as a paperback book in 2009. He decided to use the penname of Jack Lindsey for this novel to separate his fictional work from that he has published as a microbiologist. A second novel, Victim of Compromise, written under a second penname of Luke Johnson, was published on 15 February 2010. Crime and Passion, a collection of twelve contrasting short stories by Luke Johnson and Jack Lindsey, was published in ebook format in August 2011. This was followed by four audiobooks, the first of which was released at the end of 2011. A second Jack Lindsey novel, Gifford’s Games, was launched in June 2012 in the month preceding the London Olympic games (it has nothing to do with the Olympics but everything to do with games). New Beginnings, a collection of short stories written under his own name, was published in August 2014.

In October 2013 he published his first non fiction book, American Road, as an ebook in kindle and epub formats describing a motorcycle journey in words and pictures he undertook in the Southwest of the USA during 1982. Then following successful sales on Amazon he followed this in April 2015 with the publication of Bike Travelling Man in Kindle format describing his experiences with two motorcycles.

He lives in Woking, England and spends a lot of his time writing and travelling.

Books by Jack Lindsey

One of the recent reviews for Cogrill’s Mill on Goodreads

May 04, 2020 Angie Mangino rated it Four Stars

“George Cogrill was uneasy. It was a bright sunny day in June and it was his birthday, but he had received a summons from his aunt. No matter what the weather, or the occasion, his aunt always made him feel uneasy and a summons from her could not be ignored.”

Readers learn of the dynamics of the relationship between Aunt Jane and George on George’s thirtieth birthday. Half of George’s income and half of his water mill the most treasured thing in his life, now was to belong to Victor Gloam. When George finds out Victor is deceased, half the inheritance became the property of Victor’s daughter Victoria.

Readers will follow the newly formed relationship developing between George and Vicky in a fast-moving tale that is fun, romantic, sad, murderous, and sometimes just outright strange,

This is an adventure readers will be happy they entered, eager to see where it will conclude.

Jack Lindsey, Buy: Amazon UK –  And: Amazon US –  follow Jack: Goodreads Blog: Peatmore WordPress – Facebook: Peatmore Press

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thriller Daniel Kemp, #Poetry Lynda McKinney Lambert, #YAFantasy Jean Lee


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Daniel Kemp

Daniel Kemp, ex-London police officer, mini-cab business owner, pub tenant and licensed London taxi driver never planned to be a writer, but after his first novel –The Desolate Garden — was under a paid option to become a $30 million film for five years until distribution became an insurmountable problem for the production company what else could he do?

In May 2018 his book What Happened In Vienna, Jack? became a number one bestseller on four separate Amazon sites: America, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Although it’s true to say that he mainly concentrates on what he knows best; murders laced by the mystery involving spies, his diverse experience of life shows in the short stories he writes, namely: Why? A Complicated Love, and the intriguing story titled The Story That Had No Beginning.

He is the recipient of rave reviews from a prestigious Manhattan publication, been described as –the new Graham Green — by a managerial employee of Waterstones Books, for whom he did a countrywide tour of signing events, and he has appeared on ‘live’ television in the UK.

A selection of books by Daniel Kemp

A recent review for A Covenant of Spies on Goodreads

Daniel Kemp’s A Covenant Of Spies deals with British Intelligence investigating Russian operative.

I enjoyed the clever, complex tale featuring a net of lies and political cover-ups that made me think twice about the daily news headlines.

An entertaining story of 21st century spies and tales of the Cold War sprinkled with clues till the end, it reminded me of “Bridge of Spies”.

Daniel Kemp, Buy: : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Daniel on : Goodreads – website: Author Danny KempTwitter: @danielkemp6

Meet Lynda McKinney Lambert

An image posted by the author.

Lynda McKinney Lambert is a retired Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA.

With her extensive background in Fine Arts, English Literature, and Humanities, she creates mixed-media fiber art for exhibitions and her writings that are published internationally. Lynda has been called “A Renaissance Woman” by a number of editors and her work appears in a number of prestigious anthologies in the US, UK, and Hong Kong.

Lynda  creates art and writings from the inspirations of her life-experiences of teaching, travels, and her home life in a century-old home located in the historic Germanic village where her ancestors lived for generations. Her home is situated on a ridge overlooking the 50-mile long, Connoquenessing Creek where she lives with her husband, Bob, and their rescued dogs and cats.

Books by Lynda Lambert

One of the reviews for Star Signs

One of the recent reviews for Fallen Princeborn Stolen

May 09, 2020 Briar’s Reviews rated it Four Stars and really liked it

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen by Jean Lee is a fabulous, fantastical, young adult novel that will keep you captivated!

This folklore tale follows a young girl trying her best to escape from a horrible situation. Suddenly, she is thrust into a fantasy world of epic proportions! All this girl wants is for her and her sister to be safe, but nothing is as it seems…

If you like world building, this story is for you. It’s full of lush lore and descriptions that will whisk you away into another universe. I was so intrigued by all that was going on, I could hardly believe I binged the whole book. This book is magical, whimsical and wild! The action and thrills just kept going and I barely had a minute to breathe (just how I like it!). On top of that, the characters are great! I felt like they were (almost) real! They had personalities, they grew throughout the story and had feelings and emotions. It was a well balanced story!

I like that Jean Lee finished this story up but left room for the sequel. Nothing kills me like a mighty cliffhanger! There’s still much to learn, but I didn’t feel like I was left disappointed.

I also feel like this book easily crosses the lines across YA, New Adult and Adult. While it does feature teenage characters, I think New Adult and Adult fiction fans will easily enjoy this book. With so much going on, it’s hard to place it in just one category.

If you haven’t picked up this book, I recommend it! It gave me great vibes and it was truly addicting. Four out of five stars.