Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates – New #Poetry Balroop Singh, Reviews #Mystery Lizzie Chantree, #SouthernContemporary Claire Fullerton

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore updates with new releases and reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is Balroop Singh with a new release. A poetry collection – Magical Whispers

About the collection

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whispers life into us.

One of the early reviews for the collection

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful collection  Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2020

I’ve read a few of Singh’s poetry collections, and this one is my favorite. Each poem is a gem, and though this isn’t a long book, it’s worth taking a few leisurely days or weeks to savor.

The 73 poems are divided into two sections: Magical Whispers and Whispers of Life. The poems in Magical Whispers have a strong focus on Nature—the mysteries, solace, and magical connections the author has to Mother Earth. A few of my favorite poems are Dawn Whispers, Magic of Senses, and A Moon Fairy.

Whispers of Life is broader in scope, touching on love, growth, longing, memories, and other facets of human life. Though personal to the author, the poems are relatable and insightful. My favorites in this section are My Words, Only Memories are Mine, and Muted by Time. Highly recommended.

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

Also by Balroop Singh


Balroop Singh, Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter@BalroopShado

The next book today is If You Love Me I’m Yours by award winning inventor and author Lizzie Chantree.

About the book

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Oh my, what a wonderfully sublime book; my heart soared.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 October 2020

I stepped outside my normal genre comfort zone of crime thrillers to read this book; it had been recommended to me and I had my eyes and heart opened. I laughed, I cried and had a precious insight into the life of people who on the surface appear, okay.

This is a story of repressed feelings. Yes, it is a love story and on so many fronts, but first and foremost it is about the delicacy of self-esteem. It is real. It is about dreams and nightmares.

The characters are ‘real’; Maud, her artistic flare crushed by domineering parents. Dot, a wonderfully crazy lady, dressing eccentrically because she comes from a famous artistic family – it is what she feels expected to do as she is continually informed she has no talent. Nate, Dot’s brother, a famous artist and reputed rake and, a whole host of players who play parts that appear to be at best benign, supportive, but come with an underlying desire to address their own ego.

I cannot reveal the plot because it is life and you need to live it in this book – I did, and finished feeling both wrung out and wretched and yet, elated, at the same time – I didn’t want it to end.

This is not a roller coaster ride so much as a ghost train of soul searching and I defy anyone not to feel a part of it, the central characters, to recognise something of themselves – I did, and, love it and it is you.

I have bought another book from this author and started reading it immediately – such exceptional writing. I do not hesitate to recommend this book. Love it, and it’s yours – 5 stars.  

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

Also by Lizzie Chantree

Lizzie Chantree, Buy: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US – Follow Lizzie: Goodreads – website:Lizzie Chantree – Twitter:@Lizzie_Chantree

The final author today is Claire Fullerton with a review for her novel Little Tea, which I can also highly recommend

About the book.

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Sep 26, 2020 D.G. Kaye rated it Five Stars

A tale that encompasses several topics of life – family, friendship, racism, mental health, and tragedy. Southern fiction at its best. We’re introduced to the triangular friendship between Celia, Renny and Ava, friends from childhood, in a reunion visit up to Renny’s lakehouse where the girls recant stories, memories, and unresolved issues from their pasts, introducing the many characters who played parts in their lives.

Celia managed to leave the deep south and is happily married now living in California, but the girlfriend reunion brings up some painful memories that Celia Wakefield finds herself now having to put closure on, including her ex-fiance Tate whose deep south family wasn’t too accepting of Celia’s close friendship with ‘black people’, – mainly her oldest best friend Little Tea and her family. And once tragedy struck within the plantation, a silent slithering away of Tate occurred.

The story goes back and forth through time – current day at Renny’s lake house in Arkansas where the reunion takes place and back in the 1980s when they were younger girls where we’re taken into Celia’s younger life with her family living in Mississippi on their cotton plantation and the black hired help living on that land in a cottage, becoming closer than most with their white bosses in the still divided south. Thelonius and Elvita and their daughter Little Tea who becomes Celia’s best friend, and ultimately, the love interest of Celia’s brother Hayward – still in a dangerous time for mixed races to show themselves publicly, but accepted within the family – except for Celia’s eldest brother John who comes off racist.

In this story, the past comes back to haunt as it does in real life. Celia must find closure, Ava must choose her happiness between two men, and Renny is the host where everyone meets up at her place to mull over their pasts and solidfy their futures. Renny is the group organizer. And nobody knows the deep dark secrets better than the three girls.

Some wonderful prose to quote from this book. Here are just two:

Little Tea and Celia discussing Tea’s plans after graduating high school: “I know times have changed for people of color, but there’s a residue that’ll stick around forever.”

Celia talking to her brother Hayward about their grandmother’s racism, trying to figure why as someone who came from poverty and now riches, why she didn’t have compassion: “People attack what they fear.” “People always have to have something to look down on.”

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

Also by Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton, Buy: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Twitter: @Cfullerton3


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to take away with you.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates #Reviews -#Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #DieselPunk Teagan Riordain Geneviene, #Pilgrims Noelle Granger

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review today is for the novel Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau.

About Telling Sonny

At nineteen, pretty, vivacious Faby Gagne is still waiting for her life to begin. The time is 1924, the place Enosburg Falls, Vermont. With school over, her time is now occupied with mundane chores and avoiding the crossfire of resentment between her mother and her grandmother.

As the time approaches for the annual vaudeville show to arrive in the village, Faby watches the posters go up with increasing excitement. She is the best kind of audience for the Small Time: she does not discriminate.

When the show comes to the Opera House at last, Faby catches the eye of charming hoofer Slim White, who sets a course for her life that she never could have imagined.

A recent review for the book

Richard W. Wise 5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple but evocative tale.  Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2020

Telling Sonny, is an evocative and atmospheric tale featuring, Faby, a young, small town, girl from a conservative Catholic family just entering womanhood. The story’s beginning is not so unusual. Faby, allows herself to be seduced by a charismatic stranger who, surprisingly, “does the right thing” returns and marries her when she finds herself pregnant. But, as is often the case, doing the right thing, ends up being dead wrong.

We then follow the newlyweds on a series of mild adventures, as the increasingly pregnant Faby, moves from town to town, playdate to playdate with her new husband, America’s favorite hoofer, on the vaudeville circuit.

The author does an excellent job of describing the atmosphere of the small-town America of the 1920s. After a bit of a bumpy start, her prose stretches out and hits its stride in chapter two as the girl summarizes her situation: “Faby found herself confounded by their theme of commencement. It had been a year since her high school graduation and nothing had commenced for her, as far as she could tell.”

There are some wonderfully evocative passages: “They both laughed softly, the laughter hovering briefly between the two beds before drifting out the open windows.” And this pointed description of Faby’s first meeting with her new mother-in-law: “As Louis drove them back to the house in silence, his mother in the front seat beside him, Faby couldn’t recall ever having seen the back of someone’s head look so smug.”

If you are looking for a major theme and high adventure, Telling Sonny is not for you. However, if you can be satisfied with a intriguing tale of quotidian truth about real people, people, perhaps like your own grandparents, I’d highly recommend Telling Sonny.

Read the reviews and buyAmazon US – and : Amazon UK – follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Website/blog: Liz Gauffreau – Family History: Liz Gauffreau – Facebook: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @lgauffreau

The next author with a review for her latest release is Teagan Riordain Geneviene for Hullaba Lulu: a Dieselpunk Adventure

About the book

Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure is a wild and wooly 1920s fantasy story. Lulu, the heroine is inspired by the song, “Don’t Bring Lulu,” from 1925 ― so are her pals, Pearl and Rose. My Lulu loves to dance, and freely indulges in giggle water. She snores and burps and says whatever she wants. Lulu is a snarky but good-hearted flapper. The song’s inspiration stops there, but the story is just beginning.Travel with Lulu and her friends on a magical, dieselpunk train that belongs to the smolderingly handsome and enigmatic man known only as Valentino. They get into all sorts of trouble, usually due to Lulu’s clumsiness. It’s an intense ride through a number of pos-i-lutely creepy settings, including “sideways” versions of Atlantic City and the Cotton Club. At every stop and in between, Lulu ends up creating chaos. There’s no telling where they’ll end up. No, Lulu! Don’t touch that!Lulu’s the kind of smarty, breaks up every party,Hullabaloo loo, don’t bring Lulu,I’ll bring her myself!;

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous and worthwhile read  Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2020

Hullaba Lulu is a fun and imaginative story set during the prohibition in the USA. Lulu has been raised by her grandfather who runs a speakeasy from an abandoned underground railway station. The story starts with a train appearing at the station on the speakeasy side of a rockfall. The train is owned by the mysterious Valentino and his angelbot assistants which are nothing like Lulu and her two best friends, Rose and Pearl, have ever seen before.

Before long, Lulu, Rose, Pearl and Grandfather are aboard the train and on the adventure of their lives. They travel sideways in time and visit Atlantic City, the Cotton Club in New York City and various other amazing and interesting places all seen through the skewed lens of sideways travel which results in these places being almost the same as in ordinary life, but not quite.

The author has managed to weave all sorts of fascinating titbits of information about flappers and life in the 1920’s into the tale as well as songs from that time, famous people and all every other interesting and trademark USA items you can think of like Ouija boards, automobiles, tarot cards and fortune tellers. The way they come into the story is so natural that it just seems quite right that they should be there.

There is strong characterisation in this short book and the author has a talent for creating strong female characters who are excellent role models for girls and women. I am always delighted that her women characters have healthy appetites, speak their minds and generally do not adopt the coquettish and ‘fake’ behaviour so common to women, even today.

Despite this book being reasonably short, it manages to delve into certain social problems that still exist such as the superiority of the wealthy and their habit of looking down on people who have to earn a living or whose lives are not as cut and dried with regards to relationships and lifestyles as their own.

False friendships, devious and misleading behavior, resentment and anger, all of these unpleasant and difficult emotions that hamper human happiness are featured, but they are off set by great loyalty, heroic behaviour, obtaining pleasure from simple things in life like eating a cheeseburger, and romance.

It is quite unbelievable how Ms Geneviene has managed to cover so much ground in this single fantasy book. It is a fabulous and worthwhile read and not one to miss out on.

Read the reviews and buy the book:  Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK- Rest of the World: Universal Link

A selection of other books by Teagan

Teagan Geneviene – Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Blog: Teagan’s BooksGoodreads:Goodreads Twitter: @teagangeneviene

The final review today is for The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger, a book I can also highly recommend.

About the book

This book captures and celebrates the grit and struggle of the Pilgrim women who stepped off the Mayflower in the winter of 1620 to an unknown world – one filled with hardship, danger and death. The Plymouth Colony would not have survived without them.

Mary Allerton Cushman was the last surviving passenger of the Mayflower, dying at age 88 in 1699.

Mary’s life is set against the real background of that time. The Last Pilgrim begins from her father’s point of view – she was, after all, only four when she descended into the cramped and dank living space below deck on the Mayflower – but gradually assumes Mary’s voice, as the colony achieves a foothold in the New England’s rocky soil.

What was a woman’s life like in the Plymouth Colony? The Last Pilgrim will tell you.

A recent review for the book

Bobbi 5.0 out of 5 stars “History” has never been so fascinating!  Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2020

I haven’t enjoyed history since boring childhood classes turned me off. But this “novel” (based on fact) was amazing! I learned so much about the 1620 voyage, the Pilgrims and their intense struggles, the religious and political growth of our young country, and even the real story with the Natives. What fun to see this epic life adventure through the eyes of a woman, Mary Allerton Cushman. This is one of those books you can’t wait to resume. I didn’t want an “education” but only a fun read. I got both!

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

Also by N.A. Granger

Noelle A. Granger Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Blog: Sayling Away – Goodreads:Noelle A. Granger – Twitter: @NAGrangerAuthor

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Author on the Shelves – #ParanormalThriller – This Last Chance by D.L. Finn

Delighted to welcome D.L. Finn to the cafe and bookstore with her books. Today I am featuring her paranormal thriller This Last Chance. 

About the Book

Six months after Amber’s sister is brutally murdered, she’s still looking for answers, and now someone is stalking her and no one believes her. Home alone with a powerful snowstorm approaching, Amber is determined to take control of the investigation by hiring a private detective, but her plans are disrupted when she finds herself snowed in with people she may not be able to trust. Meanwhile, Nester the evildwel, whose entire existence has been feeding on fear and pain, is seeking help from the angel who’s protecting Amber. Nester and Amber need answers. Can Amber figure out what’s going on with some subtle help from an angel? Will Nester find what he needs from his enemies? The worlds of good and evil clash, and the outcome will determine not only Amber’s and Nester’s fate but life as they know it.

One of the recent reviews for the book

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 book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by D.L. Finn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads

About D.L. Finn

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

Connect to D.L. Finn – Website: D.L. Finn Author –  Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor


Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could leave a comment for Denise and share her books. You will also find her books for younger readers in the Children’s Cafe and Bookstore.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Fantasy A. J. Alexander, #MurderMystery Jessica Norrie

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review is for Marcia Meara and her recent release 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

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Conclusion to a Wonderful Series!  Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2020

In The Emissary 3: Love Hurts, author Marcia Meara returns to the world of Jake, Dodger, and Azrael—two emissaries and an angel whose job is to keep humans from making poor life choices. Azrael is in charge (or “Boss” as Jake calls him, to the non-amusement of Azrael) with Jake and Dodger working as his emissaries. Jake and Dodger have physical bodies, but they have previously passed from this life—which becomes a problem when Dodger falls for Juliet, a girl he sees at the library.

Azrael is willing to give Dodger a chance to explore his feelings and develop a relationship with Juliet, but the complications far surpass those of a normal couple, especially given Dodger is unable to share with Juliet who he really is or what he does.

As in past Emissary novellas, the story abounds with warmth and humor. I never tire of Azrael suddenly appearing and giving Jake a jolt. There is plenty of banter between angel and emissaries, but also plenty of near-parental type guidance and sternness from Azrael. That big angel has a huge soft spot for his recruits!

The story is polished with spot-on dialogue and emotions that tug on heart strings but ultimately leave the reader with a feel-good finish. This is a beautiful story, and a beautiful wrap to an enchanting series!

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

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

The next author with a recent review is A.J.Alexander with Sundance: 2nd book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series

About the book

Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’ seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good and evil. Follow her adventures as she discovers love, fights the good fight, and finds herself in the heat of battle trying to keep her wings from being singed.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jasmin 5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining and fascinating sequel  Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2020

Following ‘Soul Taker’, ‘Sundance’ is the second book in the Council of Twelve Series.
The book is less a simple sequel than a parallel story to the first part, which first surprised me, but then I was enthusiastic about that fact. I found it fascinating to read the story from a different point of view and to find the skillfully orchestrated connections to the first book.

One of the things I love about this book is to see Sundance grow up into a strong woman. Also interesting is her education. Even though the book shows many known characters and places, the book still allows the reader to re-explore the world, AJ Alexander created masterfully.

I look forward to read book number three in the series.

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

Also by A. J. Alexander

A.J. Alexander, Buy:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Aurora Jean Alexander – Twitter: @AuroraJean_A

The final author today is Jessica Norrie with a review for her first novel The Infinity Pool

Jessica Norrie

About the Book.

In this thoughtful novel set on a sun-baked island, Adrian Hartman, the charismatic director of the Serendipity holiday community, is responsible for ensuring the perfect mindful break, with personal growth and inner peace guaranteed. People return year after year to bare their souls. For some, Adrian IS Serendipity. But Adrian disappears, and with him goes the serenity of his staff and guests, who are bewildered without their leader. The hostility of the local villagers is beginning to boil over. Is their anger justified or are the visitors, each in a different way, just paranoid?

As romance turns sour and conflict threatens the stability of both communities, everyone has to find their own way to survive. This evocative story explores the decisions of adults who still need to come of age, the effect of well-intentioned tourism on a traditional community, and the real meaning of getting away from it all.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written  Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2020

I listened to the audio book of The Infinity Pool narrated by Jack Wynters. I enjoyed the readers voice interpretation of this novel and thought his tones suited the subject matter of the book very well.

The Infinity Pool is beautifully written and compelling and I found this book to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is about a vacation camp on a remote island where mainly British people go to recuperate from their stressful jobs and to take various courses aimed at developing them as people.

The camp leader is a charismatic man named Adrian, who is a bit of a womanizer but who is very good at helping other people rediscover the good in their lives and re-energize. As a result, Adrian is popular with the guests, many of whom come specifically to take his courses.

The book starts with Adrian feeling slightly disgruntled with his life and role at the camp and looking for a way to reignite his enthusiasm and vigor. He meets a young local girl and sets out to woo her as he finds her company gives him a new lease on youth.

His relationship with the girl ends and his very modern and cavalier attitude offends the locals who live in a nearby village. It is the last straw in an already strained relationship and a group of young men from the village set out to cause disruption at the camp and among the guests. At times, their actions are outright hostile and even criminal.

This is not a run of the mill mystery, it has a heavy focus on characterization and the development of selected characters in the book as they go through a period/s at the camp and undergo a healing process which allows them to move on from their pasts and change as people.

I enjoyed this story and was happy with the ending except for one small thread which wasn’t tied up for me. Other readers may not think that and it isn’t significant, just a small niggle for me.

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

Also by Jessica Norrie

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

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Pre-Historic Jacqui Murray, #Fantasy Deborah Jay, #Mystery Amy M. Reade

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Jacqui Murray for Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy)

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

Anneli5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure Packed with Danger Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2020

Even after I had read the first two books of the Crossroads trilogy, I could hardly wait to feast my eyes on Book Three, Against All Odds. I was not disappointed. Over the span of the three books, Ms. Murray develops characters I love or despise, while fearing or worrying about others. As the People, several small tribes traveling together, cover what must be hundreds of miles in their quest for a permanent home base, they encounter a variety of dangers along the way. Sometimes the challenges are geographical and sometimes weather- and climate-related. The tribes are conscientious hunters and gatherers, taking only what they need. They face danger from the animals they prey on, but the most dangerous situations are when the People themselves become the prey of Others, Big Heads, and the most feared – cannibals.

Ms. Murray has combined her talent for storytelling with a huge amount of research into the many aspects of early man’s probable lifestyle, from communication, to weapons, survival skills, their use of early medicines, and social living habits. There has been much discussion about the level of language and signing skills early man used. Ms. Murray uses some poetic licence to suggest to the reader what the characters are probably communicating to each other. In a setting of 850,000 years ago, we must allow this in order to build the story that I guarantee you will love reading.

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

Also by by Jacqui Murray

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

The next author is Deborah Jay with a recent review  for The Prince’s Son: The Five Kingdoms: Book Two

About the book

The thrilling fantasy adventure begun in The Prince’s Man continues with new, and familiar, characters…

Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares.

Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats, and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss.

And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victims’ strings with expert malice.

A recent review for the book

Miss K Marsden VINE VOICE5.0 out of 5 stars Prince’s Son  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 August 2020

In an effort to strengthen ties between countries, Rustam is responsible for escorting Tyr-en nobles to an arranged marriage. But an old enemy is about to disrupt these plans.

I initially read the first part of the series a few years ago, and it was easy to slip back into the world of the Five Kingdoms, with Rustam and Risada coping with their new lives.

Despite saving the country, Rustam was exiled for using magic. Two years on, he has a prestigious diplomatic position in a foreign court, but his first loyalty will always be to Tyr-en and Prince Halnashead. Free from Tyr-en’s strict rules on magic, Rusty has been able to learn so much more about his inborn skills. He has to refrain from using them during his escort mission, as the girl’s chaperone – Princess Annasala – has a deep-routed fear of magic, thanks to the torture she previously endured.

Risada knows what’s expected of her. She is a lady of the second house, and needs to continue her bloodline with a suitable partner. No matter how much it breaks her heart.
At the end of the last book, she had negotiated her own marriage to Prince Halnadshead, and they are now expecting their first child. Risada used to be the most dangerous woman in the Five Kingdoms, but her days as he infamous assassin Dart look to be over. With her permanently damaged arm, and her growing belly, you can sense her frustrations at losing her once-perfect control. But her instincts are telling her there’s danger, and Risada is determined to get to the bottom of it, whilst protecting those she loves.

The newcomer to the story, is Nessa. The younger twin sister of Lady Julin, they travel together to Julin’s arranged marriage across the border. There are plenty of superstitions about younger twins in the Five Kingdoms, they are thought of as unlucky, or cursed. Nessa knows that she cannot expect much from life, but she hopes that after Julin marries, she can take the time to find her own perfect suitor. As soon as she lays eyes on Rustam, she is violently in love, and has a whole journey through the mountains to gain his affections.

Nessa was… sooo very annoying and immature in the beginning, but she means well, and all of her actions have good intentions. At seventeen years old, her view of the world is very narrow; and being the disposable twin has given her an uncertain future. I think that makes what happens to her so much harsher in comparison. Nessa and Julin both suffer various abuse whilst captive with the Tylocians. Neither are innocent children when they get out.

The abuse suffered by female characters is very central to this plot, with the twins’ forging it into a quiet strength; compared to Princess Annasala, who uses religious mania to stop herself from having to deal with it. The story doesn’t shy away from the subject, and I thought it was written very well. It respects how serious this is, and portrays it honestly; but the writing never gets bogged down with being dark and depressing.

The rest of the plot plays out well, keeping you guessing and hoping the whole time.

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

Books by Deborah Jay

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Deborah Jay, BuyAmazon US – And:Amazon UK – follow Deborah : Goodreads – website: Deborah Jay – Twitter: @DeborahJay2

The final author is Amy M. Reade with a recent review for Ghouls Night Out (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 4) 

About the book

Halloween is just around the corner and the goblins are out in force in Juniper Junction. A crotchety merchant, a malicious next-door neighbor, and some ghoulish trick-or-treaters are causing hair-raising problems for Lilly Carlsen’s boyfriend, Hassan Ashraf, and things are about to get much worse.

When Hassan finds himself at the center of a police investigation following the deaths of two of his tormentors just days apart, Lilly is ready to help in any way she can to bring the real fiends to justice.

But with Lilly’s daughter having trouble adjusting to college, her mother continuing a downward spiral into dementia, and possible romantic strife on the horizon between Lilly’s brother and her best friend, Lilly’s Halloween is beginning to look especially frightful.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Iris Chacon 5.0 out of 5 stars I want to move to Juniper Springs immediately!  Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2020

I felt so much at home with the warm, deep characters who live in the fictional community of Juniper Springs, I wanted to settle in and spend not only Halloween but many future holidays with them. This novel keeps the reader turning page after page to find out what is happening to Lilly’s boyfriend, Hassan, who has been wrongly accused of murder. Then we want to know who murdered the second victim within mere days. And why is the tearoom closed literally before it opened, and where is its owner? Add to the suspense the fight between Lilly and her ex-husband over her daughter’s wish to drop out of college, combined with the troublesome and tragic descent of Lilly’s mother into dementia. And don’t get me started on Lilly’s brother, the policeman, and the secrets he’s carrying on his overworked shoulders. What I’m saying — although I’m taking way too long to say it — is that you definitely want to grab a copy of Ghouls’ Night Out to read between now and Halloween! It’s just the treat you need to brighten your holiday season.

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

Also by Amy M. Reade

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Amy Reade, Buy:Amazon US  – And: Amazon UK – Blog: Amy Reade WordPress  Goodreads: Amy Reade Goodreads –  Twitter: @readeandwrite


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

Smorgasbord reblog – Countdown to Financial Fitness – Get off the Interest Train by Sharon Marchisello

Financial expert and author Sharon Marchisello shares how quickly interest can mount up on your credit card…the banks may call it your flexible friend but it is pretty inflexible when you allow the charges to build up.

Countdown to Financial Fitness – Get off the Interest Train

My husband’s VISA account required an intervention last week. When his statement arrived, we noticed an interest charge of 97 cents had been applied. He has set up automatic payments of the full statement balance on the due date, so there shouldn’t be any interest charges.

However, this VISA card, issued by his credit union, doubles as an ATM card to make withdrawals from his checking account. Last month, on a trip to Frankfurt, he withdrew euros from an ATM, and instead of a debit to his checking account, the transaction was processed as a cash advance. He was immediately on the interest train.

The interest train is like a snowball rolling down a hill. It’s the magic of compound interest working against you. As long as any part of your loan balance remains unpaid, interest accrues. Paying the statement balance won’t stop it because interest continues to accrue between the date the statement is prepared and the date the payment is posted. And that interest carries through to the following month’s balance, accumulating more interest. Once you’re on the interest train, all your subsequent purchases accrue interest.

Head over to read the post in full: Get off the interest Train by Sharon Marchisello

Books by Sharon Marchisello

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


Thanks for dropping in and please head over to Sharon’s to read the post in full and browse her other articles on personal finance.. Thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – October 4th – 10th 2020 – Streisand, Narcissism, Dog Sitting, Mending Fences, books, reviews and funnies

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

So here we are all again and how quickly time flies when you are enjoying yourself…I say that without a trace of sarcasm honestly… if it were not for the blog and for the daily visits from all of you I think I would have found the last 8 months very difficult.

Not that there are not things that need to be done! – I have not got anymore housework done that I do normally (which is not a great deal). There is the matter of the short story collection due out in November to finish, two novels, a large tapestry of an elephant and her baby, the summer clothes as yet unworn to be put away back in their winter quarters, and winter clothes to be ironed and put back on hangers. I will leave the sequin jacket and dancing shoes where they are as we won’t be doing any partying anytime soon…although a quick shuffle around the dining room is not out of the question to the right music.

I do have 35 books awaiting reading and reviewing and I am trying to do that in a timely fashion. I know that at the end of the month I will be heading off to Amazon again to buy another ten or twelve that have been recommended by others here or I have spotted on others’ blogs. One of the downsides of promoting authors and reading through their reviews to showcase but I am not complaining, just my TBR like most of yours.

I have also been doing some updated research on a number of health conditions and despite the Covid – 19 focus on getting a vaccine and treatments, there are still some interesting advances in other areas of medical research.. I will be putting together a new Health in the News in November.

The author spotlight ends tomorrow, but I went through my files and unearthed some author interviews from 2015 onwards for authors who are very much a part of my community and I will be repeating those on Sundays up to the end of the year. I have updated with their current books and reviews and I hope you will enjoy again after all this time.

I hope you have enjoyed the week as much as I have and my thanks as always to the contributors who take time and a great deal of thought to put together interesting and entertaining posts.. this week William Price King shares part three of the Barbra Streisand story and you can find William’s own posts and also very kindly a selection of Smorgasbord’s on his  Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr

Also this week D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies shares her wisdom on narcissism in the family and some of the reasons behind this insidious and damaging mental issue. Also thanks to my guest Jane Sturgeon for her entertaining life changing moment…

And a special thank you to author Judith Barrow who has kindly set up a directory on her blog to share posts from Smorgasbord.. a huge honour thanks Judith Judith Barrow Blog

Thank you for supporting all of us and it is much appreciated.

Life and Music of Barbra Streisand Part Three -collaborations in the 1970s and 1980s

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships -October 2020 -Envy, Jealousy, Bullying – A Path to Narcissism?

Life Changing Moments – Dog Sitting with a twist or two by Jane Sturgeon

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Ten – Sleepovers with new friends

Shakespeare and Traditional Fencing Methods

20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs – The Steak House Part Two by Sally Cronin

Pub landlady Cowes Isle of Wight


Poetry – In Remembrance – The War Poets – Edmund Blunden

-My parents arrive – Part One – Stetsons, Yellow Roses, Pappasito’s and Chi Chis

Western #Horror #Thriller – Guns of Perdition – The Armageddon Showdown Book 1 by Jessica Bakkers

Past Book Reviews – #IrishHistory Andrew Joyce, #Shortstories Mary Smith


The endocrine system and hormones Part One

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy – Oils, origins, uses and Safety – Part Two

Summer 2020- Pot Luck- Book Reviews by Vashti Quiroz-Vega


Share your Children’s book reviews – #PictureBooks with Jennie Fitzkee Part Two

Sam the Speedy Sloth by Matthew Ralph reviewed by Barbara Ann Mojica

#Fantasy D. Wallace Peach Reviews #YAFantasy Heather Kindt, #Contemporary Carol LaHines, #ShortStories Elizabeth Merry

#Poetry Geoff Le Pard, Reviews -#Dystopian Harmony Kent, #WWII Marina Osipova

#Poetry Frank Prem, Reviews #Crime Jane Risdon, #Thriller Gwen Plano

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Oct 6th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

October 8th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Protests and Clean Plates

Host Sally Cronin – What do you mean I can’t park here?


Thanks again for dropping by and as always your feedback is much appreciated… Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Update Release #Poetry Frank Prem, Reviews #Crime Jane Risdon, #Thriller Gwen Plano

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with new releases and reviews for the authors on the shelves

Delighted to share the news of Frank Prem’s latest release which is a selection of his poetry from across his current collections – Pebbles to Poems

About the collection

Pebbles to Poems is a sample pack of Frank Prem’s free-verse poetry and storytelling published between 2018 and 2020. Extracts from six collections, ranging through memoir, and wildfire though to contemporary love poetry.

  • Small Town Kid – growing up in a rural Australian town during the 1960s and 70s.
  • Devil In The Wind – the stories of victims and survivors of the 2009 Black Saturday wildfires in Australia.
  • The New Asylum – an experience of public psychiatry in Australia, from childhood roaming the mental hospital grounds, through student psychiatric nursing and on to managing acute wards and patients.
  • A Love Poetry Trilogy:
  • Walk Away Silver Heart – derived from the Amy Lowell poem ‘Madonna of the Evening Flowers’.
  • A Kiss for the Worthy – derived from the Walt Whitman poem ‘Leaves of Grass’.
  • Rescue and Redemption – derived from the T. S. Eliot poem ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’.
  • This is poetry that is meant to be read on the page and aloud, as well. Poetry the way you always wished it could be written.

One of the early reviews for the collection

Sep 26, 2020 D.G. Kaye rated it Five Stars it was amazing

This book is a delicious sampling of extracts from some of the works of Frank Prem. The first collections are written in personal memoir style, poetic reflections of growing up in rural Australia in the 1960s and 70s from his book – Small Town Kid. Prem shares in his poetic anthology about his personal experiences with the 2009 wildfires in Australia in his book – Devil in the Wind. And more experience shared from his background in working in a mental asylum, and then as a nurse in the public mental health system, offering a taste of his poetic telling from his book, The New Asylum. These stories are exposés of life through the eyes and experience of Prem and the public psychiatric system, spanning five decades as Prem shares some of the shenanigans that went on, giving us a glimpse of life in the public psychiatric system, written in the style we’ve come to know from Prem, with his free-verse poetry.

In the last part of this book, Prem revisits some of his beautiful poetry from his love trilogy and shares snippets from the three-book collection – Walk Away Silver Heart, Rescue and Redemption, and A Kiss for the Worthy, a personal collection of love poems with lines taken from various reknowned authors, converted into Prem’s own self tellings with his unique form of poetry.

If you enjoy personal poetry and memoir written in poetic style, you are sure to get hooked on Prem’s writing as he breathes new life into both, old styled and new poetry.

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

Also by Frank Prem

Frank Prem, Buy: Amazon US –And: Amazon UK – Website:Frank Prem – Goodreads:Goodreads – Twitter:@frank_prem

The first author with a recent review is Jane Risdon for her collection Undercover: Crime Shorts.

About the book

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

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Pamela Allegretto 5.0 out of 5 stars easy 5 stars  Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2020

Jane Risdon treats the reader to her rare talent for spinning well-written, unique, and memorable yarns. Her writing is uncluttered, with each carefully chosen word packing a maximum punch. I thoroughly enjoyed this imaginative compilation.

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

Also by Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon Buy: Amazon UK – AndAmazon US–   Blog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread –  Twitter: @Jane_Risdon

And the final author today is Gwen Plano with a recent review for The Choice: Unexpected Heroes, the sequel to the co-written paranormal thriller with John W. Howell.. Contract

About the book

The Choice: unexpected heroes is the sequel to The Contract: between heaven and earth. In the first book, a catastrophic political event threatens Earth. The heavenly leadership decides to execute extraordinary measures to ensure the survival and long-term viability of the planet. Two volunteer souls return to Earth and take human form as Brad Channing and Sarah O’Brien. They are ultimately successful in preventing the catastrophe, but lose their lives in the process.

The Choice picks up where the first book ends, at an Air Force Base in northern California. The base commander invites Brad’s former Navy SEAL instructor to help him determine who is behind the murder of Brad and Sarah. It is evident that their deaths are part of a bigger plan, and the commander has an urgent need to thwart that plan.

A mystery unfolds which implicates key Washington D.C. officials. A confidential team studies the evidence and pursues leads. Eventually, they uncover a traitorous conspiracy that has as its goal: world domination. The pressing question is who can be trusted and who cannot.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mae Clair 4.0 out of 5 stars Well plotted political intrigue  Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2020

If you enjoy military fiction and political intrigue, you’ll enjoy this well-polished and plotted novel. The sequel to The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth, the story delves into the murder of Brad and Sarah (from book one) and who ordered their deaths. The author does provide a forward which helps cover what occurred in the first novel if you are new to the series.

In The Choice, new characters are introduced, including two who set up a romantic theme. I liked how the relationship grew and flourished between Jim and Donna. The bulk of the story, however, focuses on the investigation and political twists and turns as our “unexpected heroes” work to stop a power-hungry man known as “the Lion” from creating a one-world government. The pace moves steadily throughout with a few unexpected and well delivered twists at the end. A solid four star read.

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

Other books by Gwen Plano

Gwen Plano, Buy: Amazon US –and  : Amazon UK – follow Gwen : Goodreads –website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano


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


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Update Release – #Poetry Geoff Le Pard, Reviews -#Dystopian Harmony Kent, #WWII Marina Osipova

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates with new releases and reviews.

The first author today is Geoff Le Pard with a recent release – The Sincerest Form of Poetry

About the collection
An anthology of poems, inspired by the top 100 British poems and a love of sonnets

One of the early reviews for the book by Colleen Chesebro 23rd September 2020

Geoff Le Pard is one of my favorite contemporary poets. His acerbic wit makes me laugh, and there are no out-of-bounds topics in his repertoire of verses. Some of his poetry is raw, exposing the trials and tribulations related to the everyday grind of being human. Many of his poems explore the irony of our daily circumstances with an emphasis on humor—always ready to make you smile, or possibly blush!

Le Pard has a style all his own, and he writes a form of ‘found poetry’ with inspiration from many of my favorite British poets: Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Rudyard Kipling, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, W.B. Yeats, and many others. Le Pard uses the first line of the actual poem as they wrote it, continuing on with his own poetic genius.

The second half of the book the author explores the sonnet, with poems comprising fourteen lines with an iambic rhyming scheme. This is where he truly shines. They say all poets have a favorite form they like to write and clearly; the sonnet speaks to this author.

He shares in the Genesis section of the book:

“In 2007, I was taken with the urge to write poetry. From where that emerged, I will have to leave to psychologists, though some have noticed my father’s death (he wrote delightful poetry) occurred some eighteen months before I found the courage to commit myself to the ether. I found, almost immediately that, unlike prose, poetry is a more intense and challenging medium to embrace. It needs, above all else, a depth of inspiration that a short story or even a novel does not demand. It has been my joy and challenge to find and hold on to such inspiration.”

I read this book in two nights, sometimes shaking the bed in quiet laughter to not disturb my sleeping spouse. This was a delightful read and the perfect gift for the poetry lover in your family.

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

Also by Geoff Le Pard


Geoff Le Pard, Buy:Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website: Geoff Le PardGoodreadsGeoff on GoodreadsTwitter: @geofflepard

The first review today is for Harmony Kent for her dystopian novel Fallout.

About the book


The year is 3040.

The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.

The new way worked well, until now.

A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.

No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.

In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jun 26, 2020 John W. Howell rated it five stars it was amazing

I don’t read too many post-apocalyptic novels, but the blurb on this one caught my attention. These three lines made me buy the book and look forward to reading it. “A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population. No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway. In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?”

My good faith gamble on the blurb paid off by an excellent plot and exciting story. I’m not going to relay the full scenario here but would instead focus on my overall impressions. The book takes place on the planet Exxon 1. There is one guy in charge, and for reasons, we’ll find out later he decides to take out the planet inhabitants with a virus.

The cure for the virus is on its way to the president when the vehicle carrying it crashes. A qualified special trooper with orders to find it arrives on the scene. He finds instead a girl named Pryia who has been raped and beaten and left for dead. The remainder of the book deals with Pryia experiencing the highs and lows of the human condition. What makes this main character unique is all the implants that most of the planet inhabitants rely upon for managing everyday life are missing. She is totally on her own in an environment where no one can be trusted, and instinct alone can be the difference between life and death.

If you like a story that rewards the reader with a well-conceived and tightly wound plot set in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat, this is one you will like. The action takes place in the future, but through the skill of the author, the reader comes to feel comfortable that the future is very much like today. In other words, the reader does not have to be a sci-fi fan to enjoy this book. I enjoyed Fallout by Harmony Kent very much.

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

A small selection of books by Harmony Kent

Harmony Kent, Buy: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US –  Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent

The final author today is  Marina Osipova with a recent review for her latest novel – Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods

About the book

Two unlikely women with a shared history, two different turns of fate.

The end of the 1930s. The specter of twisted paranoia of Stalin’s unrelenting dictatorship continues to tighten over the Soviet Union. NKVD, the country’s secret police, coerces University graduate Ursula Kriegshammer, a Soviet Volga German with special skills, into serving this regime.

Natasha Ivanova, a worker at a metal plant in Vitebsk, a city at the western border of the

When in 1941 the German Army invades Byelorussia, both women seem to be helping the cause to fight the ruthless occupiers. But when their paths cross, tragedy strikes and one must carry the burden of guilt. Will she ever find peace with herself and the way out of the trap fate prepared for her?

Years later, the daughter of one of them launches on a quest to uncover the heroic nature of her mother’s role in WWII, only to discover a heart-shattering revelation of her own parentage.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2020

What a fabulous follow-up to “How Dare the Birds Sing”! Osipova has once again brought the Soviet’s side of WW2 to life with true grit and an insight that I respect and appreciate. As I did with Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner”, I got completely immersed into a culture and world I thought I might know something about only to realize how very little I knew. Osipova’s a master at storytelling, evoking all the senses. The characters are as fresh and three-dimensional as you can get. They linger with you long after putting the book down. Highly recommended!

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

Other books by Marina Osipova


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


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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Release #Fantasy D. Wallace Peach Reviews #YAFantasy Heather Kindt, #Contemporary Carol LaHines, #ShortStories Elizabeth Merry

Welcome to the Monday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by D. Wallace Peach of Allies and Spies (Unraveling the Veil Book 2)

About the book

Trust is as thin as a blade’s edge. Secrets abound. And no one is who they seem. Kalann il Drakk, the First of Chaos, makes a bargain with his brethren, in which the future of civilization hangs in the balance.

Thrust together by a sacred oath, a halfbreed goblin, a misfit elf, and a changeling spy unite in an uneasy alliance. But their mission to learn the truth of the strange disappearances must wait—for they owe a blood debt to the changeling queen.

In the Raveen Mountains, the cornerstones of Naj’s life crumble. Goblins assemble a massive shipment of crystals for the Borderland—enough to power Ka Radiff for a decade or, with a single spark, blow it apart.

In the elfin Riverlands, Alue learns of the clandestine Coalition. Rumors whisper of a vast conspiracy. But that knowledge pales in comparison to a startling revelation that shatters the foundation of her life.

When a dead goblin turns up on the slopes beneath the Veil, Talin has no choice but to admit to changeling crimes. The tenuous alliance falters. Treachery runs deep and wide. And in the changelings’ jungle, the queen releases her venom. The ground fractures. And only the truth about il Drakk’s cruel designs has the power to spare their lives.

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

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach


My recent review for Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1)

S. G. Cronin 5.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 September 2020

I have to say that fantasy is not a genre that I have read in recent years, but based on reading the excerpts and the reviews shared during the author’s book launch, I was intrigued to read the book in its entirety. I was certainly not disappointed, as the world building was exceptional, and the characters, from the three main protagonists to the minor players within the three cultural factions, were excellently portrayed.

Whilst this land that Elves, Goblins and Changelings inhabit is imagined, it has parallels to our own world with political wrangling between nations all seeking precious resources, especially those not abundant in their own territory. Governing bodies have their own agendas, and behind the scenes manipulation of the facts is driven by secrecy and greed, whilst more moderate voices are struggling to be heard.

The story unfolds as each of the main characters runs the gauntlet of events orchestrated by a hidden power that fractures the earth and the fragile peace that exists between the three groups. Through a series of unintentional encounters, they cross into forbidden territory, and are exposed to each other’s innate skills as they form an uneasy alliance to survive. As unrest and distrust between the groups grows, and their world teeters on the edge of war, that alliance is tested to the extreme.

I thoroughly enjoyed this page turning introduction to this series and meeting the three outcasts Elanalue, Talin and Naj’ar. I can highly recommend that you enter it too. The author has left us on the brink of what promises to be a very exciting next book as the three of them seek the truth about what is happening beyond the Veil.

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

The first author with a recent review is Heather Kindt with a review for her recent release, a YA Paranormal Fantasy, The Green Door (The Eternal Artifacts Book 1)

About the book

The game was supposed to be easy… enter the door, find the object, collect the prize money.

But nothing is ever that easy for Meg Covington. Her dad keeps a roof over her head, but college is out of the question. Her best friend, Brek, will leave for school, and she’ll be trapped in her hometown—that is until Meg discovers the flyer for Rosenbaum’s game hanging in the entryway of the record store.

Within the basement of the mansion lies the white passage, a hallway lined with colorful doors. When each door turns out to be a portal to another world, things get complicated quickly. If they find the object within the world, Meg will take her first step towards freedom. But is it really just a game, or a one-way ticket to something much more dangerous?

The Green Door is the first book in Heather Kindt’s young adult fantasy series. If you like strong female leads, adventure, snarky attitudes, and sexy sirens, then you’ll love the first installment in the Eternal Artifacts series.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2020

I really enjoyed this story. The author has a great imagination. Her world-building is fantastic. Her characters were diverse and each held its own unique personality.

I loved the closeness of Meg and Brek. I also loved their awkwardness in speaking about (or acknowledging) their feelings. I’m still not too fond of Carter, but that might be because I want Brek to win. Lol!

The plot was great! The author did a wonderful job of keeping you engaged in wanting to solve the challenge. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. If you enjoy YA fantasy with twists and a love triangle, then you are really going to enjoy this book. 🙂

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

Also by Heather Kindt

Heather Kindt, Buy: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK –  follow Heather: Goodreads –   website: Heather KindtTwitter:@hmkindt

The next author with a recent review is Carol LaHines for her debut novel Someday Everything Will All Make Sense 

About the book

Someday Everything Will All Make Sense follows Luther van der Loon, an eccentric harpsichordist and professor of early music, as he navigates the stages of grief after the untimely death of his mother. Luther obsesses over burial practices, rails against the funerary industry, and institutes a personal injury suit against the Chinese takeout whose “sloppy methods” he blames for his mother choking on a wonton. Luther detests modern music and the equal temperament, the tuning fiction upon which it is based. He believes, like Kepler and the greatest thinkers of the Renaissance, that music is to be constructed according to the divine Pythagorean ratios.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Literary Fiction!  Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2020

Carole LaHines’ debut novel, Someday Everything Will All Make Sense, opens with a grabber of a scene: Luther van der Loon describing the death of his mother, who choked to death on a wonton as he tried–and failed–to save her with a badly executed Heimlich maneuver.

We come to know Luther as a hapless fellow, even before he failed to save his mother’s life. He is nearing middle age never having lived on his own, with no other family but his mother. He has protruding ears, a limp, and a sinus condition. If that weren’t bad enough, he is a failed harpsichord virtuoso turned associate professor of Medieval and Renaissance musicology, whose department has been relegated to the reviled animal research wing of the university.

After the trauma of his mother’s death, Luther is subjected to the indignities of the funeral industry, with descriptions reminiscent of Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death,
(which he makes sure to read in an act of psychic self-flagellation):

. . . the shelves of coffins, from the visibly cheap to the garishly expensive, finishes of polished mahogany, gleaming steel, and eternal bronze; satin-lined, with pillows and blankets to conceal the hideous drainages that in time would mar the interior.

The rest of her, in reptilian fashion, had adjusted to the outside temperature (in this case, the chilly 60 degrees of the funerary chapel, the thermostat no doubt set to ensure optimal preservation in the days before burial).

The rest of the novel consists of Luther’s narrating his grief journey. (He would object very strongly to the phrase “grief journey.” He is having none of his therapist girlfriend’s forays into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy when she loses patience with his constant perseverating over the gelatinous agent of his mother’s death.)

In addition to Luther’s black humor directed toward the funeral industry, his depiction of the absurdity of Academia provides some of the funniest moments of the novel, such as the results of budget cuts to one’s beloved annual symposium for scholars of the arcane:

Rather than a breakfast buffet in the Tishman Building vestibule, participants would have to choke down croissants and mini-bagels in the halls of the vivisectionist wing, fearful that an escaped chimpanzee (those not immobilized in a vice somewhere) might make off with their sliced cantaloupe.

Most striking about my experience reading Someday Everything Will All Make Sense was Luther’s use of language as first-person narrator. He has just gone through a horrendous experience and he tells us how traumatized and grief-stricken he is. However, I felt distanced from him, which is unusual when reading a first-person narrative.

Upon reflection, I realized that Luther is using the elevated language of black humor and arcane scholarship to distance himself from his grief, all the while insisting that he is expressing his grief. Ultimately, isn’t this a very human response, reflecting the absurdity of our need to make sense of a senseless event, and, ultimately, the inability of language to express the depth of our grief at losing someone we love?

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

Author Page: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK –   follow Carol: Goodreads
Website: Carol LaHines – Facebook: Carol LaHines – Twitter: @CLahines

And the final author today is Elizabeth Merry with a review for her recently released 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:

Katie d 5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read  – Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 September 2020

I think I did a disservice to the author by devouring the book . All that effort and skill was consumed very quickly.Each story drew me in so I had to finish it . The insight into the characters was amazing . The language used between the characters was very Northern Irish, which is very rare, but made the conversations very real and also humorous. A great read! Now I look forward to re-reading it ….slower.

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

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


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm…thanks Sally.