Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore has been offering authors FREE book promotion for the last six years. With the various promotions each week and average of 25 authors are featured with their new releases, recent reviews, extracts and special promotions such as the Christmas Book Fair. Additionally there is an opportunity to participate in the Meet the Author and Posts from Your Archives…In the last twelve months there have been over 500 promotions shared on the blog and across my social media network of just over 50,000 connections.
If you would like to join the other authors on the shelves of the Cafe then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will let you know what I will need for a promotion.
Once you are an author in the bookstore you can take advantage of the Cafe and Bookstore Update which goes out on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays as well as specials such as Meet the Authors, Share an Extract and the Christmas Book Fair.
I have made a slight adjustment to the timescales for reviews as with so many authors now in the bookstore, it is likely that several weeks might lapse between featuring everyone. So I will be looking at reviews on Amazon UK and US and also Goodreads within the last six months.
To keep the numbers of authors in the Cafe and Bookstore to a level that I can promote regularly, I will be moving entries into a standby file if there has been no promotional posts for the last six months either for reviews or new releases.
I love promoting other authors and I am very happy to do so as a FREE service but it does take considerable time during the week to compile and promote posts with several authors and their books. It makes a difference when authors participate in the process. Also it works best when authors in the Cafe share other author’s updates from time to time. If you feel that you don’t have the time to participate in your own promotions either new books or reviews, then perhaps this promotion is not for you.
I also ask authors to individually respond to comments from readers of their promotions including in the weekly updates, as it does encourage both engagement and sales.
I aim to feature an author every four to six weeks and will check listings, it does help if you let me know if you have had a recent review. Bear in mind that review is a selling tool, so select a review that you feel best reflects the key elements of your book. Which is what I will do when picking a review to use.
I look forward to promoting your books and working with you to get you sales. Get in touch please.
N.B – Please let me know if you have released your book with a new cover so that I can change in the bookstore. thanks
SMORGASBORD CAFE AND BOOKSTORE
A recent review for Son of Booku
I love that this little book of Haiku is based on this author’s family and love for all things Halloween! The photos are outstanding. The extent this family goes to with decorations is over the top! But add the brilliant Haiku with the photos and you have an excellent spooky book to share and celebrate at Halloween! I highly recommend this very quick read. It will get you in the trick-or-treating spirit immediately!
One of the reviews for Caribbean Tears (adult content)
As a film historian, in reading Caribbean Tears, I was struck by the filmic elements in Emiliya Ahmadova’s narrative. The novelist describes her tale as a “psychological thriller,” in this case certainly one applicable film genre. The entire structure of her book reads like a riveting photoplay.
The heroine, Sheila, a Trinidadian woman, appears happily married, but not really, as the reader gradually discovers once she is kidnapped and held in captivity in a violent brothel as a victim of human trafficking. Nothing is what it first appears as the story unfolds and its characters interact in the celluloid reels and cinematic projection of the novelist’s noir lens.
What ensues is a classic “crime drama” with a colorful cast reminiscent of the popular ensemble films over a decade ago such as “Crash” and “Bobby” (both 2004) as well as “Babel” (2006). In all these films, as here in Caribbean Tears, the story reveals itself in a series of remote “sub-stories” that the novelist threads together bit by bit through related characters, crimes, and circumstances as the individual ensemble casts in different locations merge.
Sheila is married to a double-crossing husband named Miguel, whose mistress, Candy, is one of the accomplices in Sheila’s kidnapping with neither husband or wife cognizant of Candy’s deceit toward both. Miguel operates in his ensemble at the local station as a policeman. Candy is also cheating on him in her own ensemble cast of brutal underworld thugs involved in human trafficking as a profession.
Once trafficked to Venezuela, Sheila has her ensemble cast of fellow unwilling captive prostitutes forced into sex acts with abusive gangsters who frequent the brothel, run by a despicable and unscrupulous couple, Victor and Bernadette.
As was the case with the heroine in her first novel, Broken Chains, Emiliya Ahmadova’s contribution to the genre of women’s inspirational fiction is established in the close bonds forged among Sheila’s fellow denizens in the brothel, her female pals also shoved into the illegal sex trade.
While all the males in various ensemble casts end up deplorable, including Sheila’s husband Miguel, the women’s savior arrives deus ex machina in the guise of a Romainian detective, hired by the family of one of Sheila’s cell mates, Daniella, to locate her.
Without giving away the denouement of this crime drama, as in an ensemble film, all the characters intertwine and meet in the finale, at least those who do not end up deceased. Throughout the story, Sheila has been taken for dead herself, in a body swap from another murder, complete with a funeral.
Throughout the narrative, the novelist cracks the curtain into Miguel’s double dealing as an abusive husband, revealing certain biblical elements in Sheila’s marital turmoil. In the end, the detective is the women’s savior from heaven, for which Sheila has prayed all along throughout her captivity.
The novel is a page turner and nail biter as the reader is led through a noir labyrinth of deceit, deception, and duplicity, all coming together on the final page. This constitutes a must read as yet another installment in Emiliya Ahmadova’s contribution to women’s protest fiction.
Ahmadova reveals herself as a master of dark cinema in the form of a tailored script with an eye for character types and an ear for dialogue, with all ingredients fully visualized. As a talented novelist, she is clearly on the fast track as a budding screenwriter adapting her very own brand of women’s melodrama with thriller elements!
A recent review for Just Before Sunrise
Having read and enjoyed several of author Carol Balawyder’s previous books, I was excited when she announced the release of Just Before Sunrise on her blog. The author’s background in criminal psychology as well as working in drug rehab centers is evident. From the start, the story pulled me in with the well-developed characters and the beautiful setting of Quebec. Having a background in psychology myself, I highly recommend this not so ordinary love story.
One of the recent reviews for The Memory
Having read The Heartstone by the same author, I was looking forward to reading another of her novels. Wow, I was captured from the very start. With a perfectly pitched dual timeline, the story is told with such intensity of emotion that I felt every frustration and twist and turn as the heroine battles with her own feelings of bewilderment and exhaustion. As someone who nursed a parent with dementia, her understanding of the mental stress is superb, and yet Irene has far more to occupy her mind than that – notably the memory of something appalling she witnessed many years earlier and has dogged her ever since. The unexpected revelation at the end of the book is sheer genius, and although the story is very dark, the love of the ever faithful Sam and the uplifting ending make it a triumph. Absolutely compelling read. Mind-blowing.
One of the recent reviews for the book
The first thing that impressed me about this book was that the author took on the heinous subject of human trafficking but managed to create a compelling story without resorting to gratuitous graphic violence and sex. Instead, he kept the story within the bounds of true-to-life human emotions.
The second thing that impressed me was the author’s ability to set scenes and describe the action using colorful and descriptive metaphors that frequently occurred throughout the story. Such descriptions brought the book alive.
The third thing that impressed me was the story itself. The author spent a great deal of time on research, and it showed in the details in the story. For example, Haiti’s setting is not on the usual tourist destination list, so common knowledge of customs and other nuances was not because of kicking back on vacation but took work to ferret out.
This book has plenty of action for those who like action. Although, it does require buying into the premise that a couple of Americans want to help find a kidnapped child just to do it. But, once you get there, the story is page-turning entertainment. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a well-written fast-paced story.
One of the recent reviews for Secrets, Lies and Alibis
Maggie’s story continues as she recovers from PTSD at Frank’s ranch with her ex-partner, boss, an ex-seal, and wife. There is the budding relationship between Frank and Maggie and the past bond with her partner, Adam, which I enjoyed, along with the missing cows. Then, a man living near the ranch who was recently released from prison added excitement to the story, along with familiar characters from previous books who dealt with their issues back in Tidal Falls. I loved the story, had more than one perspective, and how well it all blended. The characters are well-rounded, and the setting made me feel like I was there with them at the ranch. Although I have gotten attached to all the characters, Maggie has become my favorite. I can’t wait to read Wounded Hearts #8 and see what happens next. I highly recommend this book and the series.
One of the recent reviews for A Bit About Britain’s History
I cannot remember how I came across this book, but I am SO glad that I did. History was one of my worst subjects at school, which I think was mainly due to the teacher’s bland presentation. Mike Biles’ way of describing the multitude of happenings that formed our country kept me enthralled and I happily devoured the whole book in an amazingly (for me) short time. Thank you Mr Biles, for this rather late addition to my education (I am only 71).
Lizzie and her magical and trustworthy hat are on a mission to find the serial killer. The murders happen during the full moon which leads them to believe the killer is a werewolf or someone who is impersonating one. The hat changes as occasions arise to help capture the monster. The communications between Lizzie and her hat are sometimes whimsical, serious, or argumentative. The dialogue is as if they were two humans having a conversation.
This is the second of The Hat series I have read. Mr. Boyack is creative and talented in weaving the imaginary into a most interesting read.
A recent review for Delilah Astral Investigator Infinity Series: Episode 2, The Boy Who Would Be King
Delilah Sanchez, her amazing cat, Mollie, and the 1774 American Colonial Lord Bartholomew Darnesworth Wharton, III, (Bartie) are back for another time travel adventure. This time, the threesome travel back to the year, 1502, the day before Prince Arthur Tudor’s death.
No one understands how or why they were chosen to intervene in the events unfolding before them. All they know is that this one change can ripple through time changing the present. After a series of Astral projections, Bartie and Delilah fear that the war they are witnessing would evolve into World War III in their reality. They believe they are the guardians, entrusted with saving their world. How do you save the past and the future at the same time?
Bartie is forced to make some hard choices. But now, he carries the guilt from those decisions. He’s fallen hard for Delilah. How does he tell her the truth of what really happened?
The author combines YA fantasy, history, and a bit of romance to create an exciting time travel novel. This is the second book in the series, and to maintain the character background I would start with the first novel, “Episode One, The Boy and the Shopkeeper: Delilah, Astral Investigator Infinity Series.”
This fast-paced adventure will keep you up long into the night!
A recent review for Maggie’s Way
I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! It is funny, witty, entertaining and an easy read. I loved all the characters, they were very realistic. I can’t wait to read the sequel.
One of the reviews for The Shadows we Breathe
“The Shadows We Breathe,” is an anthology of short fiction edited by Sarah Brentyn, which includes contributions of flash fiction from eight talented writers. This compilation of stories revolves around the stories of our hopes, dreams, fears, and failures as they shape us through the darkness of our uncertainties, mistakes, and regrets.
The stories in this anthology stay within one theme, yet the authors provide a variety of narratives, voices, and styles. This first volume explores relationships, including encounters with lovers, family, friends, and even strangers. What those experiences mean and how they affect us are much of what this book deals with. Along with traditional bonds, the authors have included connections with memory, addiction, hope, and revenge.
Divided into three sections, Part 1 shares stories totaling 500 words, Part 2 deals with stories of 50 words, and Part 3 gives us 10-word stories.
A recent review for The Sum of Our Sorrows
The Sum of our Sorrows is one of those books that tugs at the heart strings from start to finish. The excellent opening scenes had me hooked and I stayed that way as events unfolded and I leaned more about the characters and their lives. Coping with the tragic loss of their beloved mother is traumatic enough for the three teenage Sheppard sisters to bear, but their loss is made so much worse by the domineering and unyielding attitude of their father, Dalton, and ultimatums made by him regarding their future lives.
The story unfolds through the eyes of Lily, the eldest of the sisters. It is Lily whose anticipated future is crushed by her father’s unreasonable and unfair stipulations regarding how the family will function from now on. Although the two younger sisters, Charlotte and Willow, struggle to come to terms with their loss, it is Lily my heart goes out to. Her longed-for place at college, where she could develop her talent for design, becomes out of reach as she takes on unfair responsibilities within the Sheppard family. Although her father is grief-stricken, too, he seems incapable of even imagining the effects of his authoritarian attitude has on his daughters, especially Lily. In this respect, I struggled to like him.
Ms Brodey does a wonderful job of taking readers along the Sheppard family’s path to eventual healing. There is an excellent cast of characters to be met along the way, some of whom are of great help to the family’s eventual repair and future happiness. There are also a few truly loathsome characters, who serve to create obstacles that must be overcome. Dealing with these difficult and hurtful situations helps to strengthen the broken family, restoring the closeness and love they had shared before their tragic loss tore them apart. Love is also to be found with people outside the family and new relationships are formed. All of these things help to create a rounded and satisfying story.
This is the third book I’ve read by Lisette Brodey and I have found them all to be very well written, and very different in content. She is a very versatile author and I can only say that her characterisation is excellent.
Overall, The Sum Of Our Sorrows is a great book and I look forward to reading others by this author in the near future.
One of the recent reviews for Stones Corner Darkness
Thank goodness to get the next installment in the Stones Corner series- it was absolutely worth the wait!!! Once again, I could not put this book down as we find out what happens to our favourite characters after the explosive finale of Stones Corner- Turmoil.
The author weaves her magic by introducing new characters and plots without making the reader feel lost in the story line. The book has obviously been meticulously researched giving the reader an understanding of Derry’s, and indeed Northern Ireland’s, troubled past.
Be prepared for another emotional rollercoaster as the storyline unfolds and you get caught up in the lives of the familiar (and new) characters.
Once again, I’m left wanting more and I cannot wait for Stones Corner- Hope. Another fabulous offering from the author who’s passion and love for Derry and it’s people is clearly shown in this absolute page turner!! Well done!!!
A recent review for The One Chosen
A wonderful short story within the world of Diasodz. Valarie is transported to a special school where all the children that reached their death date go to become Warriors. All have special gifts that determine their place in this new order. Valerie has already practiced her Warrior specialty which calls forth a bow and arrows which materialize in her hands on a whim. Her friend, Hannah, can determine changes in the body and helps her when she develops a crush for the lead instructor, Nolan.
Upon graduation, as Valarie is no longer a student, Nolan feels comfortable in reciprocating those special feelings exhibited by Valarie. However, A third person, Drake, who heads the training programs, also has his eye on Valarie and wants her for himself.
In the Warriors’ first task, Valarie is paired with Nolan on a special mission. Will their feelings for one another cause them to lose their focus and get killed in the battle? The pair are soon ambushed by the enemy and fight valiantly – Valarie is seriously injured. Can Nolan save her?
At 65-pages, this story reads like a full-length novel. THE ONE CHOSEN is the prequel to the Diasodz series. I have already read the first book in the series and look forward to getting back into the series. Highly recommended!
+Natalie Cammaratta, buy: Amazon US – Amazon UK – Follow Natalie: Goodreads – BookBub: Natalie Cammaratta – Facebook: Natalie Cammaratta – Instagram: Natalie Cammaratta Writes – Twitter: @bynataliecamm
One of the recent reviews for the book
I have been a fan of dystopian novels my whole life, from Hunger Games and Divergent to Brave New World. Falling & Uprising hits that sweet spot for me. There’s just enough unknown, enough romance and friendship it has landed itself among my top 10 favorite books/series. A lot of events went in directions that were unexpected and the end was just enough of a cliffhanger to leave you wanting more. Really hating that I have to wait for the next book in the series
One of the reviews for Rose and Laurie
I liked the way the book intriguingly explores the different characters in the book from early on to the amazing climax.
Sarah Campbell: Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Sarah:Goodreads – Website: Sarah L. Campbell – Blog:Sarah at 3 Strawberry Lane wordpress – Facebook: Sarah L. Campbell Author –Twitter:@SarahLCamWriter NB August 2021
One of the reviews for Christmas at the Leaves of Change Cafe
Amber Cross rated it five stars it was amazing
What a lovely book! If you want a good Christmas romance, not too long, great characters and very good dialogue this is the book for you .
I thoroughly enjoyed this would definitely recommend it and I hope the author continues to write books like this in a similar vein .
One of the recent reviews for Shh it’s our secret
From deep within a heart warming story. I have read all of Chantree’s books; I love them so much. It is strange, especially as a cosy romance genre would not ordinarily appeal to me. However, Chantree’s writing has so much more depth than a contrived frothy fable.
In this latest book, Violet is a downtrodden young woman, managing a bar / café for her misogynist and lazy boyfriend; used and abused would be a fair description. Why does she do it? Well, she never really got over the loss of her parents so suddenly. She stays near to help her struggling sister and her two children after her husband left her for ‘horse face’ a younger woman. She stays and works so hard in the café, because the regulars had become her surrogate family and they care about her and she loves them for it.
Violet used to sing with her parents. She has an angelic voice and composes her own songs; elegiac and moving, often sorrowful lyrics and tunes. So many urged Violet to sing on the stage in the café, but she not only had rock bottom self-esteem, she suffered horrendous stage fright. However, she has a burning desire to help other talented songsters, especially those with the lack of confidence she has; never a thought for herself.
A mysterious man appears and buys the café and Liam, Violet’s shite of a boyfriend, scarpers with another woman; it comes as a relief to Violet, but what will she do? The new owner likes her concept of a specialist music venue and offers Violet the job as manager and even takes on board her ideas of how to refashion the venue.
No more spoilers, but this novel examines closely the emotions and struggle of feelings, not just with Violet, but with her sister and the family of regulars who viewed the café as their own refuge; great characters and so well drawn you cannot fail to be engaged. I especially like that there is no hero or heroine, just a telling tale of self-discovery and, love.
Chantree writes so well that you often do not realise that you are on a roller-coaster and sometimes mysteriously I found myself shedding a tear, or laughing out loud. Chantree writes of ordinary people in an extraordinary way and I love it and wholeheartedly recommend Ssh and her other books. 5 stars.
A recent view for Behind Closed Doors
“Behind Closed Doors” is a unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse that creatively show us what is hidden behind one of those closed doors. Plus, I loved seeing some of the beautiful fondant cake art. Some poems moved me while others had me thinking, but all touched on an emotion. The tankas may have been my favorites, but I enjoyed them all. Here are a few favorite lines. “as she danced, unfettered/in her own, glittering world/The stars gave her hope/allowed her to soar….” “Desperately, she peers through the dimness. An assorted array of items drift past her….” “Gratefully she sinks/Into sleep’s loving embrace/Thoughts gently unfurl/Reorganising themselves/Answer revealed in sweet dreams,” and “The crimson rose/Stands tall and alone/A stately queen….” A great glimpse into current events through a poetic eye. This is a poetry collection I recommend.
One of the recent reviews for Word Craft: Prose and Poetry
If you’re a lover of poetry and are interested in learning how to write syllabic poetry, or even just as a reader to discover all that’s involved in writing in the various styles of syllabic poetry, this is the book for you. Yes, there are plenty of books written on the subject for sure, but this author has a gift of born ‘teaching’. Her tutorials on how to, as well as great direction in explanations and wonderful use of examples allow us to clearly see what the author is explaining.Syllabic poetry encompasses various styles and syllabic counts with succinct descriptions, from both the English and Japanese style of writing Haiku. The author explains the differences in syllabic counts to various versions of Haiku, as well as teaching us the difference between poetic prose which requires no syllabic count, such as Gogyolka or Tanka Prose. We’ll also learn about many of the various forms of Haiku and Tanka with Haibun, which styles are written from a personal point of view, and writing about nature.
Chesebro takes us through all the various forms of writing syllabic poetry and shares with us the importance of writing poetry, “When we create poetry, we become better writers.” She goes on to explain that we learn from poetry, the brevity of words, urging us to use stronger word choices with minimal words that evoke vivid images. A wonderful guide book to introduce us to the meaning of syllabic poetry and the differences between Japanese and American Haiku. This author runs a weekly poetry challenge that I urge anyone interested in learning to write poetry from the basics and forward to visit her blog.
An early review for Things Old and Forgotten
Talk about a journey to worlds beyond the borders of imagination. Mae Clair pens a collection of mystical, magical tales that catapult the reader to realms never conceived of, yet they’re intimately familiar. It’s so easy to see yourself walking in these lands and talking with the characters—probably because her writing is so vivid and powerful, you can’t help but be drawn into her work.
Clair possesses a rare ability to craft beautiful sentences without crossing the line to purple prose. Her plots are intricate yet never convoluted or contrived. And her characters are always rich and three dimensional.
This collection of stories boasts several pieces that resonate with me. Some are light-hearted, others are more serious in nature, but all make an impact. Of particular note (to me) are Robin of Sherwood, Desert White, Miss Lily Makes a Wish, and I’ve Got a Plan, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t call attention to Father’s Day, a story that touched my heart and I know I’ll never forget.
I’m certain there’s a story in this collection for any reader, and I hope everyone gives Things Old and Forgotten a chance. It’s an easy five-star recommendation from me.
One of the recent reviews for into the Fire
A recent review for A Year in the Life of Belinda Brand
This is the fourth book in this brilliant series of psychological thrillers. This time it’s Belinda, Leah’s errant stepdaughter who features in the starring role. Amazingly, she has written a bestselling novel and won an award. Fame beckons and soon she is winging her way to LA as the film rights to her book have been sold and she will be fêted as the author.
Ostensibly in charge is her rather devious agent Pamela, who also has her own problems.
Naturally, things were going wrong before Belinda even left London. She had been receiving threatening letters and foolishly believed that she would be safe in America, especially with her friend Rosheen for company. How wrong could she be?
This is another fast paced and well plotted story with so many twists and turns I was quite breathless! I really didn’t want to put this book down at all. Kidnappings, crooks, car chases, sleazy film moguls what a roller coaster of a tale. I loved seeing Leah making an appearance towards the end and let’s hope all’s well that ends well but … who knows with a master storyteller like Lucinda E Clarke in charge. A super series. Highly recommended.
A recent review Pretty Evil on Goodreads
Exploring murder in nineteenth century New England, crime writer Sue Coletta tells the stories of five female serial killers – Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E. Nason and Sarah Jane Robinson. Delving into their individual backgrounds, she looks at the events that drove these women to a point where they chose to commit murder. Between the five, they killed more than one hundred people, many of which were members of their own families.
Though I’m familiar with many of the famous serial killers of the 1800s in my own country (UK), I’m less aware of America’s Victorian murderers, so hadn’t heard of any of these women or the details of their crimes. Carrying out meticulous research, the author recounts how each one went about their nefarious deeds and the ensuing consequences. What I found most interesting was that the preferred method of all five was to use poison – that old stalwart of Victorian killers – arsenic. It’s also interesting that many of the women murdered their own children and husbands – in some cases several husbands!
Using witness testimonies and court records, Sue Coletta tells a captivating tale of lies, deceit and an appalling number of murders. She also reveals how some of the attending physicians involved managed to make colossal mistakes in their diagnoses (in terms of cause of death). If these serial killers hadn’t knocked off so many people, perhaps they might never have been caught.
A fascinating account of Victorian murders in New England.
One of the recent reviews for Plunge
I’m not particularly into sailing (I went a few times when I was in my teens), I don’t particularly like beaches (give me an ancient ruin any day), and I don’t like putting my head underwater (I’m a wuss). BUT, I was riveted by this book. I’m now even more convinced than before that the sailing life is not for me.
Like all really good memoirs, it is incredibly honest, and the reader can easily recognise themselves in parts. Liesbet even has the courage to reveal her less than noble thoughts.
There were certainly moments when I thought that either the author or her husband would find themselves tipped into the ocean never to be seen again. You really got a sense of the frustrations of living together in cramped conditions under dangerous situations. The honesty of her feelings about sickness and death was refreshing, if not sometimes uncomfortable. (I don’t want to give any spoilers). But she did make me cry a few times.
Liesbet wrote in the present tense, which I thought was an unusual move for a memoir, but it worked very well for the action scenes (of which there are many) and for the inner voice; the writer’s confessional.
Highly recommend this book and look forward to more adventures.
#+++G G Collins buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow G G Collins:Goodreads – Blog: Reluctant Medium at Large WordPress – Blog 2: Parallel Universe at Large WordPress – Twitter:@WriterGGCollins N.A April 2021
A recent review for Atomic Medium
Atomic Medium (Rachel Blackstone #3) covers a much broader spectrum than just paranormal in an age of wonder.
A recent review for Tumblestar
Independent characters, wild horses, gunfights with buffalo hunters who smell like death, and love. What more can readers of western romance ask for?
When Cooper Malloy meets the stage coach to retrieve his young orphaned niece, Kallie, he discovers that she’s accompanied by his old childhood friend Miranda Lockhart, only Miranda’s no longer a child. Miranda and Kallie take up residence at Coop’s Tumblestar ranch and it’s not long before an attraction blooms. But who has time for romance when a ranch needs running? Wild horses need breaking, and the buffalo-hunting Doolin brothers are out for blood.
This story has lots of strengths from diverse and rich characters with three-dimensional lives to glimpses of life on the frontier to high-paced action with a variety of villains. Cooper is a great blend of grit and fair-mindedness, Miranda is courageous, and secondary characters are as strong as the main. Scenes involving the round-ups of wild horses and the rescue of an injured stallion were some of my favorites. Read and enjoy, but do not try this at home! Except for the romance, of course.
An excellent fast-pace read for fans of western romance. Highly recommended.
A recent review for Someone Close to Home
Someone Close to Home is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. The story is told through Megan, who alternates between the young classical pianist to her disturbing time in a care facility. While the story is fiction, I found myself comparing Megan’s experiences with those of my mother.
Megan and her neighbor, Gideon, form a special friendship that blooms into a love story. Unfortunately, Megan’s mother is controlling and manipulative. Her dream is for her daughter to marry the playboy actor, Jordan. He tries to convince Megan he is in love with her, but the attraction seems to be based mostly because he is used to having women throw themselves at him.
If readers like villainous characters, this book has plenty. Some of the workers in the care home abuse the residents. There are moments where I was furious that the owner of the facility was far more concerned with profits and reputation rather than carrying for the residents most basic needs. About the only thing that I found challenging at times was trying to keep track of all of the characters as there are many caregivers and residents. I still have to rate the story five stars because the writing is excellent and the plot moves along at a steady pace. I know after finishing this book that this will not be the last book by Alex Craigie I will read.
A recent review for Life is Like a Mosaic
One of the recent reviews for Legally Blind Luck
I’ve read several books by this author and he never disappoints. Once again murder strikes at the Braxton Campus and Kellan begins his search for the murderer. As usual, everything is complicated by family members. Kellan’s Uncle Zack was murdered by an auto exploding and Nana D is in absolute misery. Kellan has Uncle Zack’s son Ulan and is raising him along with his daughter. The African talisman is missing. It has a curse, but someone really wants it and wants to destroy it and the family members it belongs to.
They have to do this or die at the age of 50. It is sort of a puzzle how a talisman from South African can have so many people in New England involved with it is a mystery in itself, but don’t let that spoil your fun. Kellan’s love is the local law, but the F. B. I. may be taking over. Who is the mystery woman with the dark glasses? And the finish comes down to Kellan trying to protect the mystery woman and his cousin from South Africa. Then a man thought to be long dead shows up.
One of the recent reviews for Shadows
‘Shadows’ by Anita Dawes reflects on the shadows of life, some of which stay behind us while others inspire to drive away sadness and despair. The themes are universal and symbolize love, darkness, light, time, goodness and dreams. Most of the poems are short and focused. I like the clarity of style and thoughts.
‘Color me Red’ brilliantly describes the moods and yearnings of the poet; ‘Broken’ touches upon those moments of disillusionment and desperation when we need an affectionate touch to reassure ourselves and ‘Nine Gates’ is a little ambiguous but I guess the gates refer to our journey of life, with a message of caution at each step.
Wrong Mouse would make you smile. This collection is a nice assortment of challenges that life throws at us and how we handle them.
One of the recent reviews for Queen of Diamonds – Mafia Madame Book 2
This sequel to “Mafia Madame” is terrific! I loved the concept.
Cynthia Spagnoli is a sterling example of the sensitive and strong, woman protagonist. While grieving the deaths of her closest family in Nevada she steps up to the plate when asked to and takes on the responsibility wholeheartedly.
This book is so well written. The authors make a great team. I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue; the action was good and an appropriate amount of scene-setting makes for a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I award 4.8 stars to “Queen of Diamonds”.
The Syk’m represents a new genre for Richard Dee, venturing out into the world of fantasy. To date, I’ve read books by Richard Dee in a number of genres and enjoyed them all, so I expected nothing different from this one. The story follows a boy, Hors Lawis, and his friends. In their home of Skandir, the Syk’m are painted as evil, winged monsters, something children are scared into obedience with, lest the Syk’m come and take them away. Hors, roaming the streets and markets of his home for a gift for his mother ahead of her birthday, finds himself distracted by a female. Something about her catches his eye, not least that she has intense blue eyes in a land of brown-eyed people. She carries herself with the strength and purpose of a warrior. As their eyes met the shy Hors could not help but be intrigued. As she disappeared deeper into the markets he could not help but follow.
Down a quiet alley, she pauses, turns and looks at him before stepping through a brick wall. Puzzled and curious in equal measure, Hors followed, arriving not in the building beyond the wall, but a different world altogether. The mysterious girl removes the robe she hid under, unfurling her wings. The Syk’m, Hors quickly realised, were very real. In short order he is lifted into the sky by the Syk’m girl, and sees the sprawling land below. She paints a picture of unrest, of dire situations. The Syk’m are under attack from a band of warriors not of this world, the Druhann. Hors has been brought from his world to help defeat the threat and help restore peace to the world of the Syk’m
Hors, along with the girl, Enuna, must recruit his most trusted friends from Skandir to embark on a highly dangerous mission to cut off the Druhann, bring their leaders to justice and end the war. And perhaps in the process, they would be able to bury the rumours of the Syk’m being monsters once and for all.
Richard Dee is a fantastic writer, and something of a genre journeyman having written brilliant novels in the cosy crime, steampunk and sci-fi genres, so I entered The Syk’m with high hopes. I am a big fan of fantasy, more specifically the enormous Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. While that series is very much a satire of the real world, it also lovingly and mockingly follows many of the standard patterns or tropes of fantasy – warriors and beasts, dragons, kings and queens, witches and wizards and so on. I was pleasantly surprised to find Dee has taken a somewhat different approach to fantasy. It feels every bit a fantasy novel, but without all of the tropes. The adventure is grand in its scale, the characters developing as they work through setbacks and pitfalls. Richard Dee has crafted a fantastical fantasy filled with fun, adventure and danger all in equal measure. I look forward to seeing where he takes this new direction next.
A recent review for Tales from the Annexe
Tales from the Annexe is an anthology divided into two parts. The first part features seven short stories based on characters and settings from the author’s Herbert West series. The second part consists of seven unrelated short stories, all with an H.P. Lovecraft vibe of a dangerous, paranormal world lurking in the shadows.
I really enjoyed all fourteen stories, though I think I liked the last seven better. These stories are filled with interesting, off-beat characters and the author excels at setting a spooky atmosphere. Each story has a current of suspense that keeps the plot moving forward. You just know something bad is about to happen.
“The Ice Cream Truck from Hell” is absolutely my favorite story in the book. In fact, I read it twice because I was surprisingly blown away after the first read. The two misfit teenagers are so well drawn and have such depth that it makes the fate they’re headed toward become increasingly, nail-bitingly tragic. This is one of those stories that can be analyzed for deeper meanings. The ice cream truck that shows up mysteriously in the middle of the night could be a metaphor for so many things.
“A Howling in the Woods” is another stand out. It’s atmospheric and frightening, following a father and son hunting trip into the dark woods. They shot and wounded an elk and are searching for it as the blood-curdling cries of an animal—the dying elk or something else?—echoes through the trees.
The author has an affinity for writing troubled kids and abusive parents, and the world she’s created is twisted and dark in the most intriguing ways imaginable.
As much as I enjoyed this collection of stories, I do feel that the first seven tied to the Herbert West series are weaker than the final seven. Though I enjoyed them, I’m not sure they’re a good introduction to the series. I felt I was missing some crucial information, since I haven’t read the series. Because they are grouped together, it makes the first half of the book feel less rewarding. I think mixing the original stories with the Herbert West collection would allow each tale to stand on its own merits.
Still, I highly recommend this anthology to fans of horror and suspense. It’s a great read.
A review for Brilliant Disguise – Book One Charlie McClung Mysteries
With its undercurrent of menace, this is a novel that chimes with our times.
One of the recent reviews for Just Her Poetry
Finn offers a generous supply of poetry to while away the hours. Part One of this collection focuses on the author’s love of nature and her peaceful moments of reflection when enjoying the world outside. It includes a number of selections based on motorcycle roadtrips through sunshine and beautiful scenery. Part Two is entitled Seasons of the Soul and focuses on a wide range of personal emotions from dark to light, including feelings of loss, anxiety, yearning, self-discovery, and love.
As a whole, the tone of the collection is positive with an emphasis on self-awareness, gratefulness, respect, and personal growth. A lovely book for readers who especially enjoy uncomplicated, sincere, and uplifting poetry. One of the author’s nature poems that I enjoyed:
The waves glide smoothly on top
Of the salty surface, proudly…
Blending against the azure
Until they merge together profoundly.
Their roar precedes them…
As they hit land—this is where it ends…
They are positive, but they are wrong…
That was only their birth, now the journey begins.
A recent review for Little Tea
Claire Fullerton has a rare gift of understanding the power of language and excels at the succinct choice of the written word to convey meaning. Her linguistic expertise provides a melodic flow not only to her dialogue, but to the subtle nuance of the voice and interplay of her characters. In Little Tea, Fullerton’s genius reaches new levels of achievement providing the reader not only with a lyrical, meaningful, and magical story of friendship, family, and challenge, but a difficult conundrum as well. We must decide whether to move ahead with the compelling plot to discover how the story unfolds, or to slowly savor the richness of the language and the impact of each carefully chosen word. Fortunately for us, there is no wrong answer, and we can enjoy the range of Fullerton’s ability whichever we choose. I highly recommend all the author’s work.
One of the recent reviews for Transylvania’s History A-Z
Ms Furstenberg has written something of a teaser book, an entertaining mix of short sections of lyrical prose and equally brief fact sections that cast glimmers of light on the complicated history of Transylvania, a region that has had more than its fair share of invaders and settlers.
I suspect it is Ms Furstenberg’s intention to tickle the reader’s curiosity–if so, she more than suceeds, as I find myself overcome with an urge to read up about Dacia, about Saxon emigrants to the region, about Vlad himself, about the complex history of modern Romania.
I particularly enjoyed the sections about language: sometimes, we forget that even today we use words our very, very ancient ancestors also used. Ms Furstenberg’s little book helps remind us all that we are all part of a long, long sequence of people, with (hopefully) as many to come after us as have gone before.
A recent review for Grief Songs
Grief Songs is a beautiful collection of Tanka poems, accompanied by family photographs. Each poem pays tribute to a family member and often goes behind the scenes, telling us what is happening “beyond the frame.” It is a wonderful and unique look at a family, both good times and bad.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with tanka poems, here is a quick definition: Tanka poems are Japanese in origin. They are very specifically 31 syllables, 5 lines. The first line has five syllables, the second 7, the third 5, and the last two lines have 7. The first three lines are supposed to evoke an image, and the last two describe an action or emotion based on that image.
In Grief Songs, Gauffreau gives heartfelt tributes to her mother, father, and brother George. Some will make you laugh, and some will draw a tear. My absolute favorite is Angelic, which is aptly named. It is accompanied by the most adorable, and yes, angelic, portrait of two children I have ever seen. Liz and her brother George look like the most beautiful, well-behaved kids ever to sit for a portrait in the history of time. However, the the last two lines of the accompanying tanka read: “George had cried piteous tears/while I railed against my bangs.” This made me laugh out loud–maybe not so angelic! The bangs in question remind me of a lot of pictures in my own family album of home haircuts where the bangs ended up a little too short, usually right before a school picture. This is just one example of the way Gauffreau brings the photos to life with her poetry.
Gauffreau’s ability to weave poems, even poems with strict guidelines, into very descriptive stories is quite evident in this book. A Goodwill Love Story is a great example of that. She describes her parents’ meeting, courtship, and marriage in 5 lines, 31 syllables, and we see pictures in our minds that go far beyond the accompanying photo.
Grief Songs will inspire you to pull out your own family album, remember your lost loved ones, and think about the stories behind the photos. It is a beautifully constructed book of memories full of joy, admiration, and pain.
A recent review for Dead of Winter Journey 9
Journey 9 begins with Emlyn, Osabide, and Focia stuck in another dimension in the lost library. They’re trying to return Zasha to her body as well as find their way back to the rest of the Deae Matras group. This novella-length journey expands on Emlyn’s ability to pass between realms, and they learn more about the dire condition of the veil that separates the dead from the living.
As always, Geneviene’s episode is full of luscious details about the world including stairways that seem to lead nowhere, runes that turn cold, and magical staffs that hold the key to power. Some of these story elements feel random, but they do enhance the mystery and adventure, and there’s a chance that they’ll tie together at some point.
There are lots of mysterious characters, some helpful, some malevolent, and a few who could go either way. Little by little stakes are rising and the Deae Matras are in the thick of it. I look forward to continuing the fantasy adventure.
One of the recent reviews for Matilda Windsor is Coming Home.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which is both entertaining and incredibly sad. It is set mostly in 1989/90, with flashbacks to the 1930s, and Matty Osborne, also known as Matilda Windsor, has been a resident in psychiatric hospitals for fifty years – since she was around twenty. The reason given at the time was ‘moral turpitude’ – in other words, becoming pregnant without being married. I remember seeing something on television once, a long time ago, about how, in the first half of this century, young girls who were committed to asylums for getting pregnant, and were never let out again. In this circumstance, Matty eventually lost her mind; her path to this state is not revealed until the end of the book.
She believes that she is in her own stately home – sometimes during the Great War, at other times during World War II – that the other residents are her guests, and the carers are her staff. The story weaves between three points of view: Matty, a young carer called Janice, and Matty’s younger half-brother Henry who doesn’t know where she is or why she left home. The staff of Tuke House have no idea whatsoever what goes on in Matty’s head, or probably within the head of any of the residents. Janice is likable and fun, and I enjoyed the portrayals of the people she worked with, most of them ghastly, grey jobsworths with limited imagination. She is very much a young woman of the Thatcher years with anti-Thatcher ideals; I felt such a sense of going back over 3 decades when I read about her.
I guessed early on what had led to Matty’s dreadful fate, but it’s not obvious, and I did change my mind a few times; either way, the fact that we don’t know ‘how, who and why’ adds to the page-turning quality of the book. When I got to the end of her 1930s story, I could have cried at how alone she was, how there was no-one, anywhere, who would listen to and believe her. It was so tragic, so shocking, made even more so because you know that this sort of thing happened to so many girls, never mind the stories of some of her friends in the unmarried mothers’ home.
Another element that adds to the suspense is Henry’s search for the long lost sister he hardly remembers, and all the near misses when he could have found her but didn’t. They’re frustrating; each time I though, oh, they’re going to find each other!
I found this book particularly interesting because I’ve worked at a psychiatric hospital in the past, and because I was reminded of my late mother, who had Alzheimer’s for eleven years and lived in a care home for the last seven or so years of her life. I visited her often; I remember her being under the impression that the place was a hotel, and the carers were waitresses.
Although this story has a certain amount of resolution, I gather there is to be a sequel. I admit to being a little disappointed as I expected to get to the end and have everything nicely wrapped up – but life isn’t like that, and the stories of Matty, Janice and Henry will continue. I look forward to reading the next book when it appears!
A recent review for The Last Pilgrim
Bought this originally for my granddaughter as she descends from Pilgrim Susanna Jackson White. She is 14. Noelle warned me her book contained adult themes, so I thought would read it first. Mesmerizing. Every pilgrim descendant should read this and I went ahead and sent to my granddaughter.
I have known Plymouth Colony fared better than Jamestowne because of the four women who survived the first year and help build the community that created our great country. Noelle brings to life what they did in a very compelling narrative of the struggle they faced and how they overcame adversity. This is a story of family, religion, relationships, war, love, death, and with a perseverance like none I have read before. Huzzah to Mary Allerton Cushman and her ilk. We owe them — and we owe Noelle for telling us.
D. Michael Beard Editor The Pilgrim William White Society Newsletter
++#++*+Joan Hall, Buy :Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Joan:Goodreads – Website: Joan Hall – Blog: Joan Hall – BookBub:Joan Hall – Facebook: Joan Hall Writes – Twitter: @JoanHallWrites
One of the recent reviews for Cold Dark Night
This book is classified as a thriller or mystery, but it will easily appeal to cozy-mystery-lovers. It involves a charming small town and a cast of appealing characters, complete with the mystery-solving main character, a town bossy busybody, law enforcement figures, and is devoid of extreme violence and coarse language. The story begins when Tami and Jason Montgomery move to the little town of Madeira, New Mexico, where Jason will serve as the town’s new police chief. Tami left her much-loved job as a journalist to move there, but soon finds her investigative tendencies engaged by stories she hears about the very house she and Jason occupy. And they’re definitely not good.
Of course, she sets out to learn more and joins the local historical society to take part in a project writing a book about the town’s past. The author skillfully weaves glimpses of the past with current events to create a feeling of impending danger. The characters were well-drawn and likeable. I loved how the author interspersed information about lunar activity and folklore into the chapters. The characters in this story were well-drawn and likeable, and the story kept me guessing. This is an engaging mystery with a satisfying payoff.
One of the recent reviews for Sharp As A Serpent’s Tooth
Mandy Haynes’ collection of short stories pack a powerful punch! I’ve always found it impressive when an author can squeeze a whole lot of story into a tight narrative, while still delivering on fully developed characters, plot and MOST important –> VOICE.
I loved how Haynes created characters that were very different, yet with certain physical attributes – in this case, having red hair was one. She also centered on snakes in her stories, an ever fascinating creature, and like many other reptiles or mammals (opossums!) they are reviled simply because of their looks – well – and the fact they may be deadly, but trust me, they’re not thinking, “I’d like to bite a human today.” (That’s totally random and off-track, but true.)
Regardless, Haynes style will keep readers engrossed, and wishing for more. There are five stories, southern gothic, with a touch of magical realism in one.
One of the recent reviews for the book
In the many books dealing with the dramatic canvas of twentieth-century European history, the Eva Hnizdo book: Why didn’t they leave? stands out.
By not following the format of other personal recollections of the horrors and inhumanity of the Holocaust, her perceptive writing focuses on a more universal question of how to capture the complexity of individual lives and how we become who we are by our decisions and actions. The book’s alternative title could have easily have been: Why did they stay?
What made this book stand out for me is how the writer seamlessly interweaves the enormity of the Holocaust and communism with the human desire of all the protagonists to be known and heard, in owning their unique story as a mother, daughter …. or being Jewish or Czech … The multi-layered narratives of Magda and her mother become an almost surgical step by step capturing of a shared burden of multigenerational trauma of encountering the values of another person formed in another time and of the ultimate redemption of allowing yourself to be
One of the early reviews for Sticks and Stones
A recent review for Eternal Road
Without a doubt one of my favorite authors. John W. Howell’s books always have a great story to tell; his knowledge of history, psychology, personality, human laws shines through. It makes his books fantastic, fun to read, magical, special…
I love the characters in the Eternal Road! Not perfect, but always believable… and you don’t always know for sure how this all will turn out in the end! I enjoyed reading it and recommend it to all lovers of the paranormal, thriller, and mystery.
One of the recent reviews for Shattered Lives
Jo Naylor has escaped the fall out from her last case as a detective, hoping to find peace and oblivion in Thailand. She misses her old life and her detective partner but is solidly determined to enjoy her freedom.
But fate has a way of sticking its nose into our lives and it isn’t long before her detective hat is back on her head, prompted by the surprise arrival of her old partner, Adam Thorne.
But if he thinks he can get Jo to come back with him, he is out of luck. Jo has the taste of freedom now, and there’s no going back…
I don’t think this will be the last we see of Jo Naylor!
A recent review for the collection
The subtitle of this collection is “Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” and that is a great description of these poems. Miriam Hurdle’s poetry is easy to relate to. There were so many poems that touched me and left me contemplating and reflecting on things. The book is divided into section, with the first being SONGS OF NATURE. I read this during an early spring, so the beauty of the words and the images that accompanied them had me heading outside to appreciate the joy that our beautiful world give us. SONGS OF DISSONANCE, REASON and SONGS OF PHYSICAL HEALING contain poems that show human struggles with sickness, cancer, grief, lost love and sadness. All things that we all deal with during out life. There are other sections dealing with moments of happiness and sadness, but I have to say my favourite section in this book was SONGS OF REFLECTION. I reread several of these poems many times. As I mentioned earlier, Miriam is a talented photographer and many of her photos accompany her poems. As well some of her paintings also grace the pages. This adds so much to the personal touches in this book.
Miriam wrote this poetry collection after dealing with many things in her life, some happy, some obstacles that she had to overcome. Her poetry shares those moments as well as some of what she learned as she dealt with things. Miriam also demonstrates many different forms of poetry, showing us that poetry comes in all forms. It’s not just about rhyming or repetition. Some of them could even be considered prose. One other thing that I appreciated is her open love and acknowledgment of God in her life. She thanks him for all she has received and asks for blessings when needed. This is a relatively short book, but it is chockfull of poems to make you think, reflect and be grateful.
One of the recent reviews Learning about Autism
“Learning about Autism” is not only a great resource of information but inspiring. Carol and Allen Tucker are almost empty nesters after raising their two children. They decide to adopt a special needs child into their family, Justin, who is dealing with cerebral palsy and autism. Later, they add Joshua, who has down syndrome. The book details how they loved and helped these boys and covered Carol’s path to opening her school for autism. I learned a lot reading this and came away with more understanding of the challenges and gifts raising and advocating for these boys. There is plenty of help and knowledge, but there is also an amazing example of love. This is a great book that I recommend for those looking for advice and those who want to be inspired and understand.
One of the recent reviews for Mahoney
This book was written with heart and soul. From the first page you are taken into the life on Mr Mahoney and through three generations you “live ‘ with him . The story line allows you to enter into the life of the lead character and by the end of the book you are left with a sense of gratification but also for me a sense of good bye and loss as the story has ended and i no longer am with “my friend” that I have grown to care for and root for
My first read of Mr Joyce BUT not my last
A recent review for The Story That Had no Beginning
This book is an interesting and complex story about twins, Tom and Alice Collins, who enter the foster care system at a young age and are raised separately. The book starts with Alicia Collinson, aka Alice Collins, and her sophisticated boyfriend hosting two friends for a dinner party. Unknow to the dinner participants, the ghost of her brother Tom, known as Bobby Brown among his peer group, is also in attendance. It is obvious from the start that Alicia is a woman of good financial circumstances who mingles with the elite of London’s society. It also becomes evident quite early on, that Tom’s life has followed a very divergent path and he was a member of the mafia-styled criminal class.
The book follows the paths of the twins and how they come to end up in their different circumstances and lifestyles. Alicia is a well-know and talented photographer who owns her own home in London and has plenty of money. Tom has money, albeit ill gotten, but he dies the death of a criminal.
Tom is a conflicting character as he is a man involved in high class prostitution and other shady and illegal dealings. Despite being a seasoned criminal, his narration of the story reveals a different side to his character. One that questions the life he lived and celebrates the good fortune and success achieved by his sister.
Alice or Alicia has the great good luck to become the protegee of a wealthy single woman with no children who effectively adopts her and sets her on the road to success in her chosen field of photography. Unknown to the naïve Alicia, her benefactor isn’t everything she appears to be and some of the people she socialises with are infamous for their continuous promiscuous behaviour with the same, or the opposite, sex. In a contrast to her brother, Tom, who is in the centre of the debaucherous lifestyles led by the wealthy upper classes of London, Alicia hovers around the edges, not realising what is right in front of her.
The author has an in-depth knowledge of the illicit behaviour of the British upper class and paints a detailed picture of how greed, selfishness and a complete disregard for the values and ethics of society lead to the downfall of people.
This book will make you question what success is all about and whether it leads to contentment as the stories of the many characters unfold. This is thought provoking tale as despite the huge difference in the siblings financial and social positions, both of them end up with money but neither of them have good reliable partners or simply and happy lives.
A recent review for Slices of Soul
Slices of Soul is a compelling and unusual collection of poetry which certainly does give the reader glimpses into the complex soul and unusual life of the poet.
I think it is important to note that the poet spent 13 years living in a Zen Buddhist Temple and that the poems featured in this book were written, during and after this period in her life. I believe that her spiritualism and surroundings had a bearing on the thoughts and ideas expressed through the poems in this book.
The poems are divided into sections: Shaved Head, written during her time at the Zen Buddhist Temple, Short Hair, written during the transitional period of her changing life circumstances, and Long Hair which effectively covers all the remaining sections in the book and were written after she’d adjusted to her new life.
I felt the tone of the poems changed over the course of the book from intense reflections on life, to studies of nature, to fierce expressions of emotion, to gentler articulations of love and contentment.
The two poems that impacted me the most in this collection are from the first two sections of the book, Shaved Hair and Short Hair:
The ten directions all merge into one
this winding road leads nowhere
and goes straight there
Lost and Found
Deep dark depths
I got lost on purpose
this desolate place
the only way
to get my bearings
Poetry lovers who like poems that make you think about things and see them differently will appreciate this book.
One of the five star reviews for the book on Goodreads
Such an interesting historical novel of witchcraft and magic in Scotland, 1662, based on the author’s own distant family history and a time of unrest, suspicion, and social and religious tension. Filled with poetic and detailed descriptions of the landscape, the day to day life, the history, and the inner thoughts of the characters, this is a beautifully written story. Each chapter takes on the point of view of one of the main characters, from Margaret, the teenage daughter of a laird, to Isobel Gowdie, the “cunning woman” who has the skill and magic to both heal and harm, and several others who help to weave the story lines.
There are times when the story turns dark and disturbing. A deeply patriarchal society frightened and suspicious of strong women with powerful practices is a theme that still has resonance in current times. The author’s personal interests and professional experience help provide a nuanced look at the conflict between religion of the time and lingering ancient beliefs and practices. An overview at the end of the book is helpful to read before delving in, describing each character, the places, and some of the history. There are also references and links available for more information on the witch trials of the period and of Isobel Gowdie herself. Last of all, it has beautiful cover art, and a helpful hand-drawn map of the location in Scotland
One of the recent reviews for Torn Between Worlds
A lot has been written about the long and hard road that the illegal Mexicans must face to reach the United States in search of a precarious but useful job to feed their families.
We adults are clear about it, but how a pre-teen girl feels it in first person is something surprising. Her story is straightforward, no explanations are necessary.
With her clear view she reaches the heart of the readers. They will be able to remember, from another point of view, the event that shocked the world: the attack of the Twin Towers.
But the story does not end there up, with an easy English suitable for intermediate level, the writer flies over the Atlantic Ocean to Spain, a country which welcomes to give a new chance of life to them.
Mucho se ha escrito intentando explicar el largo y duro camino que los emigrantes ilegales mexicanos deben soportar para llegar a los Estados Unidos en busca de un trabajo precario pero que sirva para sacar adelante a sus familias.
Los adultos lo tenemos claro, pero cómo una niña preadolescente lo vive en primera persona es algo sorprendente. Su relato es directo, no se necesitan explicaciones. Con una mirada limpia llega hasta el corazón del lector que podrá, desde otro punto de vista, recordar el acontecimiento que conmocionó al mundo: el ataque a las Torres Gemelas.
Pero la historia no se queda ahí. Con un inglés sencillo, apto para estudiantes de nivel intermedio, la escritora vuela sobre el Atlántico para llevar a sus personajes hasta España, un país que los acoge a para darles la oportunidad de una nueva vida.
One of the recent reviews for Fallen Princeborn Chosen on Goodreads
Fallen Princeborn: Chosen was fantastic dark fantasy that revolved around Charlotte and Liam’s growing relationship and trust in each other, their battle with Lady Orna and her minions who somehow has returned with vengeance and blood lust, and Liam’s family who are bigger trouble than Lady Orna. It was about good vs evil, dysfunctional family, betrayal, trust, love, letting go of past, and finding strength in love.
Villians were interesting, not just Lady Orna but Liam’s family as well. I was still puzzled how Lady Orna came back so fast from pit and acquired new kind of power that was deadly. Her incompletes were creepy but even creepier was Liam’s family. This family was full of crazies.
World was well written. It was interesting to read more history of land and water, its people and their powers. Aether created all the magical beings in this world but worst were princeborns and we know more of their crimes in this book. Stellaqui were interesting creatures. I enjoyed reading about them and their old high sage. Celenstines were most powerful of all. By meeting them readers could see what was those magical rings that Lady Orna wore and now other princeborns were wearing.
Overall, Fallen Princeborn: Chosen was intriguing, fast paced and well written adult fantasy with punchy prose, rich world and non-stop action.
A recent review for Where Angel & Devils Tread
The charm of this collection of short stories written by Joy lennick and Jean Wilson, is that all of them are driven by interesting and authentic characters in a manner reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s novels. The superstitions, petty prejudices, and pleasures of these very English characters allow for thoroughly engaging stories with plenty of tongue-in-cheek British humour when circumstances and planned actions bring calamity down on their heads. I enjoyed the plots of the various stories but it is the style of the writing that made this a five star read for me.
A few examples of the humour which had me laughing as I visualized the characters are as follows:
“When I managed to get in I could see that Manny had left his mortal coil and wouldn’t be needing any more injections. I have to say the wife beater was very useful and I have developed a philosophy rather like the Ying and Yang that even dead losses have their uses on occasion.” This extract is from Aldgate’s Angel by Jean Wilson which tells the story of a queen’s nurse in 1950s London. In those days the nurses used to make house visits to attend to certain chronic patients. The conditions in which many of these patients lived were eye opening for me and the wry humour pulled at my heartstrings even as I chuckled.
“Mr Lawson, an ex-banker had been caught stealing some cigars from the newsagent along the road. The fool hadn’t remembered that they had security cameras and his antics were well and truly viewed, although a little mistily, and he was arrested without ceremony and taken to the local police station. Angie Roberts had given a hyena-type short laugh. It was typical of bank managers to help themselves to whatever they wanted. She held them responsible for the state the country was in.” This extract is from Death By Design by Jean Wilson in which the residents of a retirement home decide to take the righting of certain wrongs into their own hands.
“Kosher his mother’s home was not. He smiled as she flitted across his consciousness. Having decided while he was still in the womb that he should be a lawyer, she was disappointed when he became a detective, calling him a “Klutz!” adding “You could be killed!”
However, the fact that his younger brother, -“My son, Joseph, the doctor!” – fulfilled a birth wish, left her happy.” from Freeze by Joy Lennick, a murder investigation into the death of a small time crook and drug addict. The investigation grows legs and leads to some interesting findings.
“Adam was fortunate in the fact he had a head for figures and was ambitious. Very! The fact that he worked out and possessed a certain, while to some, oily, charm; had an enviable head of dark head, and expressive eyes the shade of malt whisky, helped his cause – social climbing. But, the years had thinned his hair somewhat and peppered it with several grey strands which persisted in battling against the dyes he tried.” from The Menu/Shopping List by Joy Lennick. When Piers, formerly Adam, Smythe finds a shoping list/menu in a second hand book, he decides the imagined available, attractive, likely well-heeled author of the letter is perfect for someone like him. He is in for his comeuppance.
One of the recent reviews for Apprenticed to My Mother
I never thought of myself as a memoir reader, but when they’re this entertaining, I can’t help but fall in love with the genre. I’ve read a book of short stories by Geoff Le Pard and decided to give his memoir about his mother, Barbara, a try. What a touching book full of humor, compassion, and love. Lots of love.
The book starts with the funeral of Le Pard’s father, Desmond, an event that changed Geoff’s relationship with his mother, bringing it front and center. He became an unwitting “apprentice” for his father’s role, and got an education from his mother about her expectations. It made sense that his father’s death had created his opportunity and that the book would start at that point. But the book isn’t only about Barbara. Each chapter ends with a poem by Desmond, poems that highlighted this thoughtful and talented man and how much he loved his wife, family, and life in general.
As a person who takes care of her elderly parents, I could relate to many of the events that take place in the book from the baffling and frustrating to the downright hysterical. Though the book covers the last years of his mother’s life, there are plenty of look-backs to early times that give a well-rounded and colorful look into the Le Pard household. I laughed out loud at the Manure Years (something we had every spring at our house too), and the escaped guinea pig adventure. Another funny anecdote was after Barbara’s cataract surgery at the age of 82, when she took the author to task for not telling her that she had wrinkles. And there was the car that needed a half dozen clutch replacements… and Gran selling the garden vegetables when no one was looking…
I highly recommend this book to readers of memoirs who want to laugh, have their hearts warmed, and perhaps shed a tear.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Different moments in Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl stood out to me such as running through old tombstones from the Revolutionary War (the fact that they were just there on the path Marian played on really captured my imagination), the unfortunate relationship with her dad who was so unreachable and the frustrating showdown over her completely appropriate clothing choices with the “leaders” of the school. I also enjoyed the “everyday” photos from her life like the kitchen utensils and recipes. They, quite literally, brought me into her home. But I think Marian Beaman’s love story with her husband Cliff and how it led her to exactly where and who she was were supposed to be is what stays with me the most. And his drawing of Marian is beautiful.
Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.
One of the recent reviews for Over the Hedge
This is a heartwrenching, riveting story of three courageous members of the Resistance who risked their lives to save Jewish children during the Nazi Occupation of Holland. Although I am familiar with similar stories of Dutch citizens, most notably that of Miep Gies, who helped the Frank family in hiding, I wasn’t aware of the efforts of this heroic trio. (One of them later served as Senator from the Netherlands and was also a European Parliament member.) Without hesitation and under extreme duress, they secretly moved children at risk of deportation to Nazi concentration camps, first to a daycare center, then across a hedge to the neighboring college. From there, they were taken in by Dutch families, although tragically, never saw their parents again.
This is a difficult read due to the extreme and senseless violence and abuse inflicted on innocent Jews. It’s also painful to read how the Occupation turned family members and friends against one another in order to make 7,5 guilders, or the price on a Jewish head. The author does a good job of keeping each of the story threads open and intriguing. It’s a suspenseful read which you’ll want to continue to the end because you hope against all hope that all three—and the 600-plus children they saved—will survive. I won’t give away the ending but will admit I needed a tissue or two.
Kudos to the author for this engaging book on a tough subject. Her research was very thorough, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she has a personal connection to someone in the story, perhaps one of the children who survived.
One of the recent reviews Bloodstone
A great YA novel that will resonate with many young teenagers, as it touches on problems with feeling different, lack of self confidence, and difficult relationships with friends. The story is told through Ameline’s voice, with her anguish and confusion at her life, and the teenage characters are believable and well written. It touches on issues such as self harm and depression, but the author has written those scenes in a sensitive and compassionate way that is appropriate to the age of the readers.
I loved all the characters, but Esme, the girl in the mirror was the most intriguing. I hope we find out more about her in future books! The mysterious cottage, the crystals, and Ameline’s dormant powers coming to life all added to the mystery of the story.
The descriptive narrative and suspenseful story line make this a great read. I look forward to reading the next instalment!
My review for Going Home 30th September 2021
This is a well written and thought provoking story that combines a care crisis that many of us face with elderly parents who have developed dementia, and the unravelling of the mystery surrounding a murder in a family home.
It is clear the author has experience of the challenge of communicating with someone who has short term memory loss, and brings in a cleverly crafted murder plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.
There are flashbacks to the past and events which have a bearing on the present, and the reader is witness to the fallout that revelations result in as the search begins for a viable suspect amongst the outsiders who have access to the family home. It would seem that the authorities have only one suspect in mind, and without the ability to communicate coherently, an elderly woman must rely on her extended family to prove her innocence.
The author does a great job in keeping all the various strands of the plot running smoothly in parallel and brings the story to a satisfactory climax.
I recommend to those who enjoy well written murder mysteries and family sagas.
A recent review for Cross Fire
DI Snow is ready for retirement until his partner Detective Jim Harris is murdered. This single event sets into motion the department’s hunt for Jim’s killer. When Jim’s replacement, Ruth Winton, shows up, Snow takes an instant dislike to the woman. She seems competent, but there is something about her that rubs Snow the wrong way.
When more bodies start piling up with the same wounds that Jim received, Snow considers the murders are all connected. He knows time is running out to catch the killers, but he has a problem. His health has taken a turn for the worse. If he’s too ill to find the killer, who will?
Leave it to me to start a series with the third book! However, I found “CrossFire” to be a standalone book. There are references to DI David Snow’s other cases, but nothing I couldn’t follow.
The book reminds me of some of the British mysteries I watch on Amazon Prime. As the suspense built, I kept turning pages, eager to find out what happened next. The characters are interesting, with Snow taking on the characteristics of the troubled detective. I found him to be a likable guy. There is great detail paid to the backstory of the murderer, which helped to propel the story forward.
If you like psychological mysteries, this was a good read. I’m excited to read some of this author’s other mysteries. Perhaps I should start with the first book in the series!
A recent review for Blood Mark
Books can be powerful and moving, but they can also be just plain entertaining. After all, there would be little incentive to explore the world of fiction if it didn’t offer some joys! Thriller writers have understood this for ages, which is why an action-packed thriller remains the best choice for beach days and airplane travel. But any book can benefit from a bit of genre-bending, which is why we’re partial to the supernatural thriller: that special book that feels like a speculative fiction novel with a bit of thriller thrown in, or vice versa.
Anyone who knows me knows I love all things supernatural…and paranormal…and thriller related. So what’s better than a thrilling paranormal series or a great supernatural read? Well, a paranormal Thriller series of course. So Blood Mark is the first in a brand-new paranormal thriller series by JP McLean reads for you to sink your teeth into. I’ll be honest: I actually just read this book recently and I cannot stop thinking about it. Are you a mystry thriller reader who loves attempting to guess the twist with every new piece of information you receive? Because I am and this novel did not disappoint. This novel was truly addicting to the point where I kept trying to sneak my Kindle into the office so I could keep reading.
JP McLean truly has a way with words and this spooky story is sure to grab you from the start. It really does have all the best elements of a thriller novel mixed with paranormal horror for you to enjoy. Highly Recommended!
One of the recent reviews for Wake Robin Ridge
Although I’ve seen different labels for this book, I would call it a paranormal romance. There’s certainly a mystery and ghost story as well, but romance is the dominate component. Much of the book unfolds in two different time periods. One begins in 1962 and the other in 2011. In the latter time period, library researcher Sarah Gray finds herself dissatisfied with her job and her life. She quits her job and buys a cabin in Wake-Robin Ridge in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s the peace and quiet Sarah needs to start writing her first novel, but her aloof and handsome neighbor, MacKenzie (Mac) Cole, becomes a distraction.
Although neither she nor Mac are ready for a relationship, they build a friendship which inevitably becomes more. But a violent, terrifying incidents makes it clear that her home isn’t the peaceful refuge Sarah thought. To resolve the problem, she and Mac need to solve the mystery behind the violence. Mac also needs to deal with demons from his past.
Told from both Mac and Sarah’s point of view, plus that of Lloyd and Ruth Carter in the 60’s, it took a while for the story to get going and the tension to build. Once it did, the book became riveting. The more I read, the quicker I turned the pages, especially toward the last third of the book. The descriptions are beautiful and Ruth’s story is heartbreaking. Despite the story being a little long for my taste, it’s still a good read that romance lovers will enjoy.
A recent review for Minus One
The poems in Elizabeth Merry’s collection, Minus One: The Story of a Life, are rich and nuanced with the fluidity of time and memory. I found myself rereading a number of them, each time with a new layer of meaning revealed. Minus One is the poetry of paradox: death in life visible in every falling leaf and glance in the mirror.
As I reflect on my experience of reading this collection, I am struck by the power of its raw, honest emotion–yet the poems themselves are very finely crafted. The word choice is precise– often unexpectedly so–and each linebreak comes at just the right moment. I particularly appreciated the freshness of language and metaphor. In the title poem, for example, losing the first member of one’s immediate family becomes “My magic circle broken.” In “Words,” “Sudden shocks of grief / Or joy unwind us.” The desire to escape from the world and live a cloistered life becomes “ . . . peace, pale apple green, serene / Soft poultice on the quick of life.”
Haiku and photographs interspersed throughout the book offer brief, vivid glimpses into the natural world, each echoing a particular state of mind. The natural world as metaphor is further explored in two companion poems: “Seascapes” and “Landscapes.” Even with the anger and unpredictably of the sea, the freedom it represents is preferable to being “Street-locked and bereft” in an inland place, where “This bland wind has / no taste, no smell.”
The title poem, about the first death in the speaker’s immediate family, asks the question, “How much of you is me / Stretching to close the circle?” This question recurs in different forms as the collection progresses–and by the end, I couldn’t help but wonder: with each loss of a close family member, do we become more of ourselves or less?
One of my favorite poems in the collection is “The Red Petticoat,” in which the speaker describes her mother’s delight at receiving a red petticoat from America. The ending stanza left me thinking, I would like to know this woman:
Long left that room, that house
The woman has gathered her years
Carefully, tucked them primly away
Scented and folded neatly
Facing the rest
With a lifted chin
A grin and a new hat
The glow of the red petticoat
About her still.
Another standout is “Frances,” about the death of a younger sibling, “Gone out of turn before me / Our childhood memories / All lop-sided now.” These two lines express my own experience of losing my younger brother in a way I never could. And isn’t this why we read poetry?
One of the recent reviews for Inside Out
As other reviewers have stated, although am not a Sci-Fi person, the whole premise of this 468 page book seemed so unusual, I bought a paperback copy and soon got stuck in. The story intensifies as more personalities are made known, and gradually, layers are peeled back to reveal motive and a possible future. This author, having taken a huge imaginative leap with her growing cast of characters, each with their own agenda, has steered them all towards an ever-more dangerous scenario.
One of the recent reviews for Ever Rest
In Ever Rest, Roz Morris forges an unlikely alliance between rock climbing and rock music to create an absorbing novel about an outsized figure whose life shaped people’s identities and whose death leaves them hanging off a cliff, teetering over an emotional abyss, and grasping for an artistic foothold. Twenty years before the book opens, rock star Ash perished while he and his bandmate Hugo were climbing Mt. Everest. Ash’s body was never recovered, leaving his girlfriend Elza, Hugo, and another band member Robert, equally lost and bereft. Grief counselors use the term “ambiguous loss” to describe the absence of a loved one when there is no body to offer definitive proof they have died — they may have disappeared in a disaster, never come home from school, or not returned after running an errand.
The book’s central question is whether recovering Ash’s body will allow those who revolved around him to move past the refrain of his death to compose new verses for their own lives. As a fiction writer myself who balances multiple points of view (see my Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/author/asewovenwords), I admired Morris’s deft blend of perspectives, which provide insight into those driven by their obsessions and the loved ones they in turn drive to anxiety and despair, exasperation and confusion. Her impeccable research into music-making music and mountaineering ground this soaring novel in both worlds. The memorable characters in Ever Rest will remain on readers’ playlists long after the book’s last peak is summited and its final note is sung.
My review for Laws of Nature August 28th 2021
I read the first book in this trilogy in 2018 and eagerly awaited book two. The author does set the scene for this second book, but I do recommend that you read Born in Treacherous Time first.
Difficult to extol the virtues of this book without giving away spoilers, but I can tell you it is an extraordinary story of survival under the most extreme conditions the earth was experiencing 1.8 million years ago. Unpredictable is putting it mildly, with earth shifts, bitter cold, droughts, floods with violent storms with lightening splintering the ground and causing rampant fires. Shelter is a rarity from the elements and when it is discovered it holds even more dangers within.
This is not a fantasy story, as it is about the real and dangerous evolutionary journey of not just man, but many of the world’s beast that we are more familiar with today. It is a time where there are a number of versions of humans, some who are more advanced than others, but even they marvel when they come into contact with those they consider more primitive. Despite this early stage in man’s evolution, natural and instinctive skills have already been lost, and it is the respect for these abilities that spark the fascination of ‘Man who Preys’ a long term enemy.
Lucy and her group have members gathered along the harsh journey who have found themselves outcast or abandoned during shifts in the earth or extreme climate conditions. They are a mismatched mix of species who learn from each other and adapt to form an unbreakable bond.There are whispers of how the individuals will evolve into modern day counterparts such big cats and primates but also sadly those that have become extinct.
The author writes flawlessly and takes you on a journey into our past with detailed accounts of this harsh environment and its inhabitants. It is an adventure with heartbreak and also moments when you can only applaud the ingenuity and the will to survive of these primitive ancestors of ours. It certainly leaves you will a greater appreciation of all we have in this modern world.
I hope you will read both book one and two of this trilogy and I am looking forward to following Lucy and her group as they continue their journey in book 3.
One of the recent reviews for the book
This book is really good! I love the historical fiction aspect of the book. The book is based on Romanian life after and during WW2. Which isn’t something you see very often! It’s definitely a book where you need to like the genre to really get into it. Overall a very good and interesting book!
One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet
Gail Aldwin Stories of a community Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2021
I admire Jessica Norrie’s skill in creating a novel with so many wonderful characters and viewpoints. (I had my favourite, Mr Chan, a widower from Hong Kong.) Using a light touch, Norrie explores issues of racism, domestic violence, belonging, isolation, identity and much more. Her ability to keep the voices distinct allowed me to tune into a range of personal histories and experiences. The Magic Carpet provides the opportunity to celebrate cultural differences and at the same time it draws upon the shared experiences of families from a range of backgrounds. An entertaining, informative and worthy novel.
Kathyrn Occhipinti, buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews:Goodreads – Websites: French and Italian: StellaLucente.com – Blogs: Beginning Italian:Conversational Italian! – Twitter: StellaLucente@travelitalian1and@travelfrench1 NA. August 2021
One of the reviews for conversational Italian
Travelling to a foreign country can be a terrible experience if you don’t know how to communicate. Kathryn thus solved this potential problem for all foreign visitors to Italy with her book picking on just the important phrases.
To start with, the book is both exciting and humorous. The reader discovers the Italian alphabethas 21 letters and borrows some additions from Latin. There are surprising differences from English, like z becomes zeta and is pronounced zeh-tah. I spent some time translating my name and found the result amusing. Learning to pronounce the words correctly was an enjoyable experiment in which I found myself closer and closer to sounding very foreign and learned.
I discovered “buongiorno” is all I need to say from morning to early evening, and if I am not yet in my hotel then “buonasera” will do until bedtime. For hi and bye to friends there is just one word to learn – “ciao”, but there are so many ways to say goodbye you really have to take your time to learn them. “Millie Gracie” means thanks a lot (a thousand) though I expected it to be “thanks a million”.
The writer takes the reader through the basic everyday conversational Italian in an interesting manner. You learn to be polite and formal and at the same time to be friendly and appreciative of any assistance. You also learn how to form important phrases, how to ask for the important things and making friends. The book teaches you to get comfortable at the hotel, at a restaurant and when sightseeing. It is indeed a comprehensive guide I would recommend to anyone travelling to Italy who does not speak Italian.
As for me if someone says “Parla italiano?” (Do you speak Italian?), I will just say “Si, un po’” (Yes, a little) even though sono di Zimbabwe (I am from Zimbabwe).
Si, I loved this book.
One of the recent reviews for Push Me Off The Cliff
Marina Osipova possesses a special gift for crafting unique, compelling stories with multi-faceted characters who get under our skin from the first pages and tug at our every emotion. Once again, Ms. Osipova has done her homework, creating a setting that is itself a well-drawn character. What a beautiful, memorable story. My most sincere compliments.
One of the recent reviews for Wolfe Manor
I do not wish to lay out the plot of the novel as I believe that anyone interested in reading it should be attracted to its mystery and amazing atmosphere!
Adele Marie Park has done an exquisite job constructing her main character, along with building a gothic atmosphere which shall captivate the reader from page 1. The sense of anguish and claustrophobia coupled with the other characters, that are protective and secretive in the beginning, has masterfully been introduced.
The paranormal is a subject present in the story. And I loved how the author was able to describe how this phenomena/demon is negatively impacting the main character.
I adored this book and highly recommend it! Whether you usually read paranormal stories set in a gothic set or not, you will definitely enjoy it!
One of the recent reviews for Brody Cody and The Stepmother from Outer Space
Brody Cody is seven years old. His widower dad marries a new woman, and Brody’s life turns upside down!
It’s a cute story. I smiled SO much while reading it, and the alien discovery and investigation are exciting. Pike chooses the best names, like Brody Cody, Peppermint, and Persimmon, and Brody’s house is on Flowerpetal Street.
Five fun stars!
A recent review for The Contract
A recent review for Subject A36
D. G. Driver Great Action! Reviewed in the United States on August 28, 2021
A terrific dystopian scifi YA novel. The fight scenes in this book were great, and I liked the characters a lot. I enjoyed that the Asher and Brynn are a couple from the start, and I liked how solid their relationship is. It is pointed out over and over again that although they spent a lot of their youth growing up in the same household that they for sure are not siblings. I think that’s important. This is a great book if you enjoyed the Divergent series or if you enjoy movies like Logan’s Run or In Time. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.