Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore has been offering authors FREE book promotion for the last five 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 Author Spotlight series and Posts from Your Archives…So far this year there have been over 500 promotions shared on the blog and across my social media network of just over 46,000 connections.
How to get into the bookstore
The first step is to have an individual promotion for your latest book which will also feature your other books and some examples of reviews.
Promotions for books in the bookstore.
After that your featured book and another six of your other titles will be displayed in the bookstore with your main selling link (usually your Amazon author page) and your website or blog and now Goodreads link, to ensure that there is access to as many reviews as possible. I will also share an extract from one of your most recent reviews. Please note that it would be difficult to keep the shelves maintained if all an author’s books were displayed. So authors with more than seven will have a note attached to their entry asking readers to head over to Amazon or the website to see all books.
Please note: Please forgive me if I don’t publish your own book launch posts. With 150 plus authors in the bookstore and on average 15 promotions a week it helps me if the various promotional formats are used. Also readers who visit the promotions regularly know there way around the post as well, especially when it comes to buying the books.
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
If you would like to be featured in the bookstore for the first time then please take a look at this post and check out what I will need for to make your promotion as effective as possible.
SMORGASBORD CAFE AND BOOKSTORE
One of the recent reviews for Sundance
Following ‘Soul Taker’, ‘Sundance’ is the second book in the Council of Twelve Series.
The book is less a simple sequel than a parallel story to the first part, which first surprised me, but then I was enthusiastic about that fact. I found it fascinating to read the story from a different point of view and to find the skillfully orchestrated connections to the first book.
One of the things I love about this book is to see Sundance grow up into a strong woman. Also interesting is her education. Even though the book shows many known characters and places, the book still allows the reader to re-explore the world, AJ Alexander created masterfully.
I look forward to read book number three in the series.
One of the recent reviews for The Author Blog
I have always avoided writing a blog but I do know it is an important marketing tool for an author. So I decided to sample Anne’s book. Immediately I bought it and have become a believer. She has taken what seems like a complicated thing and made it doable with easy steps. I’m going to start blogging. If you’re an author you should too.
One of the recent reviews for Blackbirch – The Dark Half
There are new enemies, new mysteries, new secrets and new friends. And not everyone is telling the truth. The dark half explores what is dark in all of us. Everyone has two sides. What they show to the world and what they keep hidden. Well, what if you saw both sides?
Book two jumps in where book one left off. Josh has come into his magic but is desperate to learn more about it. Kallie, the girl he thought only existed in his dreams, is real and has come to show him how to use his magic. But she is hunted and haunted by her past. Now it is Josh’s turn to save her.
This is a terrific action packed book. Magic and spells and crystals abound. Someone is collecting magic and Josh and Kallie are on his list. Just when you think you have this story pegged you are hit with a new twist. Cleverly plotted, this story is well told and full of mystery. Author K.M. Allan will keep you hooked to the very end. Over and over I sat up and went, “Ooooo!” I can’t wait to read the next installment.
In Jessica Bakkers’ Guns of Perdition, Book 1 in The Armageddon Showdown (2020), female bounty hunter Grace Dyer and her oversized dire wolf (not really a dire wolf but with those characteristics) Kava are tracking a ruthless killer who murdered Grace’s parents when she was only eleven. Now, she’s grown up, trained herself to be one of the best bounty hunters of demons and monsters in the Old West, and she wants revenge. She funds her search for this personal demon by capturing the worst of the magical monsters, those that often look benign but are as bad as they come. In one small town, hunting a fanged demon that looks like a beautiful saloon girl, Grace gets unexpected help from a seventeen-year-old bar cleaner, Jessie. He saves her life and she allows him to tag along as she pursues her trade despite that he is not brave, not gun-savvy, and doesn’t even own a hat to keep the sun off. Why? He confesses he has nowhere else to go. Grace, Kava, and Jessie become a fighting unit, each with their own strengths but all with one goal: justice for the murders of Grace’s parents.
Though at its most basic, Guns of Pardition is a paranormal story, it includes plenty of popular western elements–guns, bounty hunters, saloons, whores, owlhoots, and the natural justice that tamed the West. Grace is strong, clever, and tenacious. She doesn’t back off and has a few tricks up her sleeve that few bounty hunters or lawbreakers can match. Recommended for those who love wolf stories, Westerns, and original paranormal.
A recent review for Warning Signs
Horror and gruesome killing upset me and I don’t like to read about these details. But author, Carol Balawyder handles the murder scenes in her novel about a serial killer so deftly that I just wanted to keep turning pages – never having the urge to hide my eyes – only wanting to know more.
Once I was hooked (on the first page), she introduced the characters gradually, allowing me to get to know them while keeping me on my toes with dilemmas they each struggled with. Ms. Balawyder expertly slipped in details that would be needed later to make the culmination of the plot flow easily. Nothing happens that seems contrived because the groundwork was laid earlier in the book.
Each of the characters had major flaws but they also had redeeming traits. Even Eugene, the serial killer, was not all bad. Imagine empathizing with a serial killer!
The tension regarding the murderer escalates, and we expect this, but when he befriends Angie, their internal conflicts come into play as well. We already understand why Angie would fall for someone like Eugene, because, by now, we know her personality. But will Eugene hurt Angie? What will Angie do once she starts to suspect that Eugene may be the killer?
What about Darren, the policeman who finds Angie attractive? Will his feelings toward her interfere with his murder investigation?
I was impressed by the way this novel’s plot flowed so smoothly, pulling me in as the characters I came to know so well became entangled in it.
After being drawn into the story on page one, I didn’t want to put the book down until I read, “THE END,” and even then I was thinking about it after I closed the book.
One of the recent reviews for The Memory
A great poignant and moving story! As a mother of a child with Down syndrome, I was attracted by this book as it depicts the life of a little girl, Rose, born with trisomy 21 in 1963. I was interested in what impact her birth had over her family, her relationship with her sister, her parents and grandparents. I wanted to know about educational opportunities of the time and her place in society at large. That was very informative.
However, the book has much more to offer. Told in the first person by Rose’s sister Irene, and in two timelines, the story is about a rainbow of emotions acutely felt by the reader as well! Irene is tied to her family by strong bonds of love and duty. Her unselfishness in forgetting herself to remain faithful to the value of Family is remarkable and makes this book very special.
One of the recent reviews for Marriage Unarranged
This is a light, romantic jaunt from England to India and back again. When Aashi finds a used condom in her fiancé’s bathroom, the wedding is suddenly off. Her family is angry and embarrassed, but they support her decision. A trip to India, originally to purchase a wedding gown, becomes a vacation for Aashi and a chance to unwind and heal. Her two brothers and her best friend Karin go along.
The romantic story is fairly straightforward, and it unfolds at a leisurely pace. What held my attention was the story’s immersion in India’s rich culture and setting, specifically the bustling city of Delhi. The main characters are England born and raised, so the influences of their dual cultures were interesting to see played out, and the details of life in India were fascinating. Bhathal clearly incorporated a wealth of personal experience into the narrative.
The characters are all likeable, except for the cheating fiancé, though I felt a twinge of sympathy for him by the end. All in all, this story was about family, culture, self-esteem and independence, love and friendship. Recommended for readers of romance and women’s lit.
My review for the book 28th November 2020
This book is a challenging read, not because of how it is written, but the subject matter. We tend to picture islands in the Caribbean as having sun swept sandy beaches, luxury accommodation and smiling faces of the inhabitants, happy to see tourists pouring into their paradise. However Haiti has had centuries of political, economic and social unrest and suffered devastating natural disasters. Following one such event, the earthquake in 2010 thousands of men, women and children are killed and many more thousands are left homeless. They are left reliant on assistance from the outside world, including volunteers to help them rebuild. However, as well as the suffering caused by this natural disaster, there is an underlying evil that thrives on misery and manipulates parents in dire straits, to offer up their children under the pretense of a better life.
Two Americans Tyler and his father-in-law John Webster arrive on the island following a tragedy of their own, with the loss of Joy, Tyler’s wife and John’s daughter from cancer. Hopeful that the physical labour of helping to construct an orphanage, will bring them both a measure of peace, they find themselves caught up in the violent world of the human traffickers preying on children in particular. From mines to plantations the trade in cheap slave labour is thriving and it is manned by thugs with money the motivator.
In a desperate search across the mountainous interior of the country, and forced to form alliances with those they cannot trust, and in some cases with those wishing them violence, the two men seek one child among thousands. Their story runs in parallel with heartrending accounts of others who have been caught up in the trafficking, who seek to escape, often at the expense of their lives.
The author has created strong characters across the spectrum of good vs. evil, and the story maintains its pace throughout the book. The mission Tyler and John have undertaken hurtles towards a violent climax and consequences that will need to be faced. A thought provoking thriller that serves as a reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a kinder world.
A recent review for Perfectly Imperfect
What a delightful feel-good romance. This is an hour-long read, a fun foray into the contentious relationship between two business people, one trying to hold on to her dream company while the other one is tasked with selling it out from under her. Of course, sparks fly – the bad kind as well as the good.
I whipped through this book. The characters were colorful, both likable, and I loved their sarcasm and spats. The secondary characters were just right and wonderfully well-rounded for such a short book. The plot isn’t overly complex, and there isn’t any of the belabored drama-queen, helpless-female stuff that sometimes makes me roll my eyes. Instead, it struck me as carefully-crafted with just the right details to give a vivid sense of place, character, and action. Honestly, this spunky romance was one of the best I’ve read. Highly recommended.
A recent review for High Days and Holidays
A great read about the origins and quirks of the things and events which we know and love in Britain, as well as those which you didn’t know so much about! Definitely worth a read.
One of the recent reviews for Her Irish Boyfriend
Sean Donovan (Thief for Hire) doesn’t disappointment in Her Irish Boyfriend. His intellect, cunning instincts, and strength are what it takes to capture this ring of criminals and one ruthless Irish Boyfriend.
Gemma Trask, recently retired from New Scotland Yard, knows there’s something suspicious going on with Danny her boyfriend. He’s keeping his distance from Gemma which leads her to believe even more that he’s up to no good. She seeks help from her friend Donovan to uncover what criminal entanglements she believes Danny might be involved with. It all starts with a cell phone that leads them to multiple crimes. Soon Beth McLean (Donovan’s wife) and Constable Jimmy Flanagan (who analyzes behaviors) join the two in the hunt. The chase is on and involves multiple crimes and criminals. It’s a race to the very end in the pursuit of Danny.
There are so many twists and turns and action packed scenes where Donovan takes more than one tumble but comes out on top. What I always enjoy about the books in the series are the many lands and seas they take me across and in this story I especially liked the fight scenes and string of criminals caught along the way in the search for Her Irish Boyfriend.
One of the recent reviews for Mrs. Molony on Goodreads
I’m a huge fan of C.S. Boyack. From the moment I read “The Hat”, I was hooked, and after “Viral Blues” I concurred that these stories about a snarky talking hat and his symbiotic friendship with ‘gal-with-a-heart-of-gold’ Lizzie St Laurent, were my favourite stories in Boyack’s impressive repertoire. So, when I learned about a new ‘hat’ installment, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney”, I was jazzed to say the least.
“Mrs Moloney” picks up where “Viral Blues” left off, with Lizzie and the Hat just doing their thing, working gigs, getting by, and obsessively shopping the internet for stuff a five-hundred-odd year old hat finds cool (forgive me if I’m off on the Hat’s age – his history is so damn rich it’s hard to keep track of his age, and you know, he hardly shows any wrinkles).
Lizzie and the Hat soon come across a sorry excuse for a vampire – Kevin – and after a few jests about the lad’s teeth (which makes me think he must have British ancestry), they decide to help the poor sod to find his sister who’s been kidnapped as take-out by a bunch of cowboy vampires. Sound weird? Yeah, well, it’s Boyack!
The story unfolds in an unhurried way, with Lizzie and her band taking on country music festivals and gigs to try and track down the vamps. This provides plenty of comedic fodder with lines like:
“Then we have their anthem, ‘Friends in Low Places.’ Believe me, play this one and they’ll all pay attention. They’ll all sing and give up on any riots they have on their minds. In fact, if you blow the lyrics, they won’t even notice because they’ll be singing them.”
Boyack does his usual excellent job of dropping music into the story (loving that ‘Bad Things’ got a mention), and again floors me with his acute understanding of the female brain (like Lizzie lamenting her ‘long face’ and how certain styles of hat don’t work for her). There’s humour aplenty, and though the Hat was a bit more grumpy (or morose) this go around, his and Lizzie’s relationship has really blossomed into a buddy cop relationship… or a long-suffering marriage. I can’t decide which.
Summing up, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney” is a great read, especially if you’re a fan of Lizzie and the Hat, and cements why these characters are my favourites in the Boyack universe
A recent review for Maggie’s Way
Maggie Abernathy has her Michigan summer all planned out. After a bout with breast cancer, all she wants to do is to recuperate and rejuvenate. Her life as a second-grade teacher was especially difficult this year. To add to Maggie’s problems, she is also learning to navigate life alone after her recent divorce.
When seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John, Maggie’s dull life takes an unexpected turn for the better.
I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. The story was predictable, but somehow, comforting. The romance that buds between John and Maggie is even sweeter because of Chloe.
Chloe’s character clearly steals the show. The child possesses a pearl of certain wisdom that women much older than her often wish for. The only child in what had to be a difficult home, Chloe steals Maggie’s heart.
Written in the first-person, I immediately connected with Maggie’s character. There is a lot going on, and Maggie discovers she must learn to overcome some of her own issues before she can truly find herself. So true to life!
The only downside was that the book ends on a cliff-hanger, and you have to purchase the next book to continue her story. I understand it’s a series, but the author hints at a happy ending for Maggie and John. As is true in most romantic fiction there are always some difficulties in a relationship. It would have been nicer for this book to end on a high note. Still, I would recommend this book because of the interesting characters. I’m debating on whether to go further in the series
A recent review for On the Edge of a Raindrop
It’s fair to say that I like my fiction with a bit of depth. I don’t mean War and Peace kind of depth, but I like a good yarn with layers, ideally a few twists, and characters that feel real, even when they’re a little larger than life. And yet I like short stories, and I always admire a writer who can produce an effective one.
I’m even more impressed, then, when I read flash fiction. At least, I am when it’s well written. As I understand it – and I’m no expert in these matters – flash fiction can be anything from a few words to a few hundred, so it can be very difficult to convey much in the way of a story with so little to play with. Very often, flashes will be suggestive rather than explicit.
Sometimes, they get across a state of mind or being rather than a whole story. Whichever route is taken, for that writing to stir something in the reader – for example, senses of loss, fear or exhilaration – means the author has done their job.
Probably the most famous flash fiction reads: ‘For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.’ Attributed to Hemmingway, though there are some doubters, this conveys so much and is a masterpiece of the genre.
Frankly, Sarah Brentyn’s work easily stands alongside this. Her ability to capture the essence of an emotion or a moment in so few words is staggering. In a single line, she can encapsulate something that many authors would struggle to do in several pages.
Like her first book, Hinting at Shadows, this is a book to savour and not rush. When you’re confronted with stories or essays that cover only a page or even a few lines, the temptation is to read one then leap on to the next. Don’t. Read one and reflect on it. The whole book is only 48 pages long, but what it contains is volumes and it should be read as if that’s the case.
Take your time. Savour each morsel as it’s fed to you. It’ll be more satisfying than you can imagine.
My Review for The Sum of Our Sorrows January 13th 2021
This is a well written family saga, packed with complex but relatable relationships that we may well recognise from our own experiences. Father and daughters, sisters and between lovers. Friendships that fizzle out as circumstances change, or grow through surprising connections.
The author sets the scene early in the story as we learn of a family tragedy that changes the dynamic of the relationship between father and daughter and the three sisters. The spread of ages of the girls, places them all in a different stage in their lives and each is vulnerable in their own way.
As the novel progresses we are introduced to other characters who impose their own agendas on the sisters and their father, sometimes with traumatic effect. Others bring clarity and hope to the family as a whole and individually There are moments of drama and also evil, as the family try to come to terms with a mother’s death and three young women face uncertain futures.
The author does an excellent job of getting to the heart of her characters and portrays them well. The reader is left feeling that they are part of the family and involved in a very personal way as they face demons, secrets that are revealed and the future. I can recommend the book to lovers of family drama with elements of thriller, mystery and romance.
My review for Acts Beyond Redemption September 14th 2020
A page turner with plenty of action and mystery.
Having enjoyed The Reckoning Squad, I was looking forward to this book which is part one of the Unintended Consequences series. Aptly named, as whilst a heinous act produced fully intended consequences, other people were drawn into the aftermath unintentionally with devastating effect.
There are some dark and dangerous characters moving between events four years prior to the present day task force looking into a serial killer. Knowing who to trust is challenging and putting your faith in certain people is fatal.
In this day and age, with history books and the worldwide Internet feeding us conspiracy theories on a regular basis, it is not that far fetched to imagine that some governments might go to extreme measures to obtain their endgame. Or may have already! With those in power susceptible to temptation and desire for power, who knows how far they will go to achieve their ambitions?
Suzanne Burke writes very well and you are fed pieces of information about the players and the game in hand throughout the book. Some of the prime suspects are visible, but others are in the shadows, or masquerading as being on the side of right and justice. You might have your suspicions about who they might be, but are kept guessing until the end of the book.
The final chapters wrap up some of the loose ends, but leaves sufficient to encourage the reader to get into book two as soon as possible. I am looking forward to doing just that.
I can recommend to anyone who enjoys a fast paced thriller with well drawn characters and plenty of suspense.
My review for The Godmother December 18th 2020
The Godmother is a modern twist on a much loved fairy story that has been immortalised in children’s books and in various interpretations in movies.
Cathy Cade brings the story up to date with current day technology which offers an opportunity to expand the adventure to include far flung places, a fiesty Godmother who sticks her nose into foreign intrigue, online communication and dating apps for Prince Charming to browse.
The author takes care to keep the fundamental elements of the original story as far as the characters are concerned, but gives them an upgrade in certain departments. There is also a very cute dog which is a very nice touch.
A lovely short story with some humour and twists to the plot that makes it a pleasure to read.
One of the reviews for A Mountain of Memories
I have just finished reading A Mountain of Memories. This definitely has to be my favourite of Christine Campbell’a books that I have read so far.It is difficult to categorise this sweeping story into a particular genre. As another reviewer said, it is part romance, part historical, part mystery/thriller with some psychology thrown in.
Right from the beginning, I was drawn into the lives of the characters, Caitlin, Matt and Lexie. And then to explore how their modern day story links in with Mhairi,100 or so years previously, and all that happens in her life is just captivating.
Both stories evoked some strong emotions in me. I felt happy when they were happy, but I also cried when they experienced tragedy and loss.
Thank you, Christine, for producing another wonderful story. Now I just have to decide what to read next.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Becoming Insane is a fantastic novel. The two friends the novel centre around are brilliantly drawn, so believable. In the beginning, we can sympathise with them as the things which happen to them can easily happen to others. As the novel progresses we are drawn into the strangest journey, the writing is so good we are walking every step of this horrendous journey with the two men. The ending left me wanting more and I can’t wait for a sequel.
One of the recent reviews for If you Love Me I’m Yours on Goodreads
Author Lizzie Chantree uses her creative talents to show how four friends navigate life as they all grow up. Maud’s mother throws up roadblocks trying to dissuade her daughter from her artistic career.
Her best friend Dot grows up with Maud throughout the story. Their support for each other, even when questionable, is realistic. Nate’s brother, a famous artist supports the girl’s efforts to pursue their passion.
The story lines and characters are interesting from start to finish. It is a growing up story rather than coming of age. As each character evolves, you will find yourself in the midst of each person finding their path toward love and acceptance.
“Feeling warm breath on her shoulder, she turned and looked up into Nate’s smiling eyes. She jumped and took a step back, as he was invading her personal space. Maud knew his flat was above the gallery, so she shouldn’t have been surprised to see him. Why the hell hadn’t she thought that he might be here? As she recoiled, she tripped on her own feet again. She’d been standing with her legs crossed, a terrible habit, she realised. Nate reached out as if he’d been expecting her to fall at his feet, and placed warm hands around her waist. She was gratified to see that his hands fitted perfectly – her love handles of fat had disappeared. He frowned before pretending to chastise her. ‘You’ve lost weight. Why?’”
Art with all its passion and hidden meaning is a good backdrop to explore these well-developed characters’ successes and failures. Lizzie enriches with individual personalities with descriptions of living spaces and artistic endeavors.
The complex plot weaves you through a fun story with an unexpected, yet delightful ending. I recommend this book for those who like good romance with a splash of fun.
My review for While the Bombs Fell November 7th 2020
Mother and daughter collaborate beautifully in this story of the war years based on Elsie Hancy Eaton’s memories of her early childhood.
As we sit in our centrally heated homes and pop to the supermarket to buy our week’s groceries with produce from all around the world, it is easy to forget that only 80 years ago it was very different for millions of people in Britain. Times were hard anyway after the great depression that hit the UK in the 1930s, followed very quickly by World War II and food rationing and restrictions on use of essential utilities.
This is a detailed snapshot of life on a small farm in Bungay in Norfolk. A place steeped in medieval history with a ruined castle now a playground for children. Apart from those evacuees seeking sanctuary from the big cities, particular Norwich, hard hit by bombing raids, there is a small community which includes four year old Elsie Hancy and her extended family of grandmothers, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Her father is a dairy farmer who supplies the town with milk seven days a week in all weathers, including on Christmas Day. Whilst the family has milk fresh each day, with food rationing in force, butter, cheese, meat and fresh fruit is scarce and feeding a large family is a huge daily challenge.
The story is told through the eyes of Elsie and she shares every aspect of daily life from building an air raid shelter in the back garden, freezing bathing routines during the winter, the farm activities that began at the crack of dawn until last thing at night, going to school for the first time and stories of grandmothers and newcomers to the town.
As children, Elsie and her brothers and sisters are very resilient as they take these tough times in their stride. There are fun times too as the children head off in the summer school break to paddle and swim in the river taking packed lunches of jam and bread. There is the delight of a hand me down doll in a pram for Christmas, and the family involvement in the making of the pudding rich with saved up dried fruit.
Added to this first hand account of this harsh time in our history, is a section containing authentic recipes used by millions to make dishes from the meagre ingredients available. Whilst they may not contain the rich and diverse produce we enjoy today, in many respects they are ingenious and also nourishing.
Definitely a recommended read.
A recent review for Fairies, Myths & Magic on Goodreads
This is an amazing read for anyone who loves magic, myths and folklore. It combines knowledge and wisdom with an array of stories and poetry that will take you to another realm. This book is a must have and a great summer read. You will not be able to put it down and you will want to read it over and over again. A great book for all ages.
One of the recent reviews for Follow Your Dog
I purchased Ann’s book after losing my guide dog to cancer. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has loved a dog, experienced grief in losing one. Guide Dog or Family Pet. I can honestly say that you will find something here that will sound like a personal experience you have witnessed. The first day I picked this book up to read, I couldn’t put it down. This would truly be one of the best books you could gift yourself with. It spoke gently to my heart.
One of the early reviews for Design Nature For A Colorful Home
Design Nature For A Colorful Home is the latest non-fiction book written by Valentina Cirasola. I previously read several of the author’s other books and found them all to be a wonderful escape into the world of colors, home decor, interior design, international beauty, and immense imagination.
Cirasola is a gifted artisan, and she makes design seem easy. In this brilliant book, she shares various images of nature, then replicates the color palette you could apply to your home to bring the outside in. From bedrooms to kitchens and bathrooms to living rooms, every place in your home has a few dedicated pages that will jumpstart your brand of creativity. I have to admit, she inspired me to really think about the colors I choose and how they relate to my life in the future.
Some of the combinations she’s shared were familiar to me, but mostly it was a fresh look at how dark and light related to one another. I often attempt to duplicate what I see in a picture but rarely understand why. Now, through the author’s words and creativity, I am tempted to try different colors and connections to moments and situations in my life. I’d never realized how much of what surrounds us is part of our day on a grander scale. And Cirasola keenly points out how the choices we make are sometimes influenced by nature and the world of outdoors. Why not make that your initial source of ideas?
Every possible color is addressed in this book. Some sections delve into varying hues and shades, but this is really about applying a scene from nature and matching it to your personality, your house’s structural style, and the way you interact with your belongings and home, et al. Cirasola is a mastermind at pulling so many things together, designers should offer this book to clients as a place to begin when thinking about their future homes.
I’ll definitely be turning to it when I next need to renovate or change the color of a room in my current or future home. I highly recommend you do too. And to top it off, she’s such a warm and generous person, and the connections with food and clothing make everything synchronize together even more beautifully.
My review for In Search of McDoogal September 24th 2020
Certainly an hour well spent and I look forward to more adventures in the future as there is certainly the potential for a series. I can recommend for lovers of lighthearted mysteries who want to take a break from the headlines and give a much needed boost to their sense of humour.
Another great read from Lucinda.
Leah and teenage Belinda have moved to the South of France taking with them some very inflammatory material belonging to Leah’s ex, Mason, who’s still in the UK languishing at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Soon after, they are joined by Leah’s elderly Aunt Deidre, and Belinda begins home tutoring with the very stern Madame du Pont and her child prodigy, Sophie from the nearby chateau.
After they are introduced to some dubious British neighbours, strange and frightening things start to happen. And when things begin careering out of control Leah and Deidre struggle to maintain a semblance of normality.
This is the third book in the series A Year in the Life of…and having read the previous two, I have to say I enjoyed this one the most. A gripping mystery/thriller with a great story line and a group of dodgy characters made it an absolute winner for me.
A recent review for Pretty Evil
I find True Crime books, like Pretty Evil New England by Sue Coletta, hard to rate. Research is vital, but also, the way the book is written can make it easier or harder. Since the murders took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, I can see why research materials would be lean. Time, fires, and many other things can contribute to that.
I love to hear the characters speak in their own words, and Sue Coletta gave them voices. I love looking into their minds, even though I know I will never understand them. Bad upbringing, nature/nurture…no excuses…whether they are sociopaths, psychopaths, or just plain evil, playing with their victims, it doesn’t matter. A choice is a choice.
Five women: Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E Nason and Sarah Jane Robinson are five people you would never want to be friends with or related to them. They were responsible for more than one hundred deaths.
Males hunt, females gather, and that is how they choose their victims too.
We get the lowdown on the serial killers with their own words, interviews, court transcripts, newspapers, libraries, historical societies…Sue shared glimpses into these five women’s lives. I love learning where they came from, their childhood, their family, marriages, children, friends…
Even when they confess, there is doubt if they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Myself, I doubt it. I think they revel in the attention they receive.
Sue Coletta has included some medical and other related trivia from the times. I love when an author does this. For example, Mercury was a common medical treatment, but when Abraham Lincoln used it and found out for himself how harmful it is, he stopped its use.
Not all questions will be answered, but isn’t that why we read? We want to figure things out for ourselves.
One of the recent reviews for Plunge
For several years, I’ve been a follower of Liesbet Collaert’s blog “Roaming About” where she shares the nomadic lifestyle she lives with her husband Mark. When I learned she was writing a memoir, I waited patiently, knowing it would be fantastic. Liesbet did not disappoint. From the first page of PLUNGE – One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary, I was immediately drawn into their unique way of living. Most people would think they’d hit the lottery if they were able to do whatever they wanted, or go anywhere they desired. Life on a catamaran or traveling the US by RV would be a dream come true for many. But despite the beautiful surroundings, life as a nomad comes with challenges and stress those living a routine 9 to 5 lifestyle could never imagine. Liesbet’s honesty and openness throughout the book is to be commended. She reveals her heart to the reader, making her story so much more than a travel memoir. It’s about questioning the choices we’ve made in life and what’s truly important to us. This inspiring memoir is one you won’t be able to put down until you’ve reached the end. Of course, if you follow her blog, the story doesn’t end as she and Mark continue to share their adventures.
One of the early reviews for Gwen Slade
Gwen is a young woman who’s raising her little brother with the help of a family friend, Chen. She took after her father, who was a Bounty Hunter. After a job, she comes home to a man who saved her family from a would-be robber. The hero, Jordie, leaves the minute the sheriff arrives. Gwen finds out that Jordie is wanted, but she doesn’t go after him after saving her family. Gwen wants to move to Montana and start a new life on a horse ranch, so she takes the job of catching three of the worst outlaw brothers.
I love Gwen’s strength and ability to take care of herself in a time when women were more dependent on men. Promising one last job to her little brother, she sets off, against the sheriff’s advice, to catch her outlaws and earn her big retirement payoff. She ends up with an unexpected partner. I love the relationship that develops between them on the trail.
There are great conversations and plenty of action. As the two learn about each other, a dog finds them. You can’t help but fall in love with these amazing characters or the dog. I didn’t expect a couple of twists, and the scenery was detailed, making me feel like I was along on the ride. This is an exciting Western romance that I didn’t want to end, but it did and very satisfactorily. I hope we aren’t done hearing from Gwen Slade. She’s a wonderful heroine. I highly recommend “Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter.”
My review for Acts of Convenience on November 3rd 2020
I am now of an age when I do feel concerned when I read headlines about the future burden of the elderly and questions about where is the money to come from to fund their care. Added to that the stories of neglect in some care homes and the impact of the pandemic on those living in isolation from family and friends, it does make you wonder where you will find yourself in ten or twenty years time.
Not everyone can be self-sufficient and having worked all their lives until retirement, laying the corner stones of modern society, surely that is a time of reward not censure.
Alex Craigie’s book is an eye-opener and also a disturbing glimpse of one of the possible outcomes of today’s whispers and mutterings at higher levels in Government, and in the think tanks as they discuss options for twenty and thirty years ahead.
It is a thriller with an unlikely protagonist in the form of a hard-working nurse as she becomes a mother, then grandmother whilst still walking the corridors of the local hospital. She is in the shadows as far as those in charge are concerned and as such she hears and sees things over the years that are troubling.
During those years successive ministers, including Prime Ministers, begin to put progressively more inhumane policies in place that initially seem benign, but have long term consequences on the population as they reach retirement. Personal agendas, ambition and greed are their motivations and not the good of certain sectors of society. A wedge is being driven between the young and the elderly as governmental spin doctors market to one at the expense of the other.
The author lays the groundwork to the outcome of twenty plus years of governmental manipulation in the first third of the book when the pace of the story picks up.
Can individuals or small groups of dissenters have an impact on an entrenched attitude towards the vulnerable in our society? In this novel they certainly do their best, despite at times violent opposition and corruption at the heart of the NHS. There are some heart stopping moments, and times when it seems that reaching a satisfactory ending to the story is unlikely.
The author has created some strong characters and also scenarios that are thought provoking. Despite the slower first third of the book, it did serve to remind us of the insidiousness of the drip feed of discriminatory policies that might go largely unnoticed over twenty or thirty years, it also introduced us to the characters who come together in a fight for justice. The author did a great job of making me consider my old age in a more constructive way.
I always enjoy a good short story and have been known to write a few myself. I guess you would call me a particular guy when it comes to short stories. I generally am turned off if I can detect that there will be some cute, contrived ending designed to bring the reader to tears. You know the type. Husband and wife fall on hard times. She sells her hair to buy him a watch fob. He sells his watch to buy her a comb. Wait, that is an O’Henry story. Well, anyway, you get the idea. The stories in Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries has no such contrived circumstances.
These are stories from the heart. They are about some people you come to care about what happens to them. There are also stories of people who you get the feeling need a karma hit. In each case, Ms. Cronin does an excellent job developing circumstances that are just right for both.
I liked the fact that the book has convenient headings. In this way, the stories are all grouped into Technology, Connections, Winning Streak, Animal Magic, and Falling in and Out of Love. These headings alone will give the reader an idea of the kinds of stories in the book. Suffice it to say, there is a wide range of stories that should appeal to everyone.
I thoroughly enjoyed these stories and highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys reading well-written work.
One of the recent reviews for The Astral Conspiracy series
This is a phenomenal series jam-packed with riveting characters, stellar intrigue, exceptional writing, and plots to blow your mind. The author does a deft juggling act, handling multiple plot threads that span alien invasion, edge-of-your-seat action, religious overtones, ancient artifacts, complex conspiracies, and more. I read and reviewed all five books separately, but the appearance of a box set is cause to celebrate. This is one series that screams to be filmed. I’m waiting for Netflix to gobble it up and splash it on my TV screen.
A recent review for Hiding Cracked Glass
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2020
This sequel has outdone the first book that I loved, “Watching Glass Shatter.” The story is based on a blackmail note found and a party. The name is unreadable on the envelope, so Olivia doesn’t know who the letter is for adding another layer to the mystery. The story is told through multiple POVs, which gives an insight into what is going on in this family. I found a couple of characters made me mad at how they were acting, and I had a lot of empathy for the young widow, Emma. The mother, Olivia, has grown stronger and wants to do the right thing if she can figure out what that is. The sons each have their issues, making them think they are the subject of this note, which kept me guessing until the end. As the plot weaved together and things were exposed, it made an exciting family drama hard to put down. I highly recommend this book, but start with the first one to appreciate this story.
One of the recent reviews for The Scarlet Ribbon
Scarlet Ribbons, also known as The Scarlet Ribbon, by Anita Dawes is a contemporary fiction novel that focuses on the afterlife and how one woman deals with the tragedy of a single moment in time, a moment she couldn’t prevent from occurring. I became familiar with the book after following the author’s blog and learning more about her collaboration with Jaye Marie on a variety of a projects.
In this tale, Maggie Haynes is hit by a car. Her husband witnesses the accident and is forced to watch his beloved wife put on life support when she falls into a coma. When Maggie goes under, her life seems to separate into reality and another world. In one path, she recovers and finds herself heading down a certain troubling existence… and in another, she’s somewhere beyond the Earth… not quite heaven or hell… not even clear of the specifics, but this new world can be quite scary. She’s able to ‘cross over’ to see some things happening back home, and it’s not always a good thing.
Can you imagine being able to watch your loved ones grieve? What if they decided to move on? Are you aware of how long you are in the coma? When Maggie discovers various connections with new people she meets in her confusing new life, she can’t help but think about how much is real and how much might be a dream. Is she trapped somewhere? Will she wake up paralyzed from the accident? Is she secretly already dead? What does her family think has happened? So many amazing questions to ponder while reading this book…
I enjoyed the writing style. At times, the author whisks you away into a dreamy state; even I was uncertain which world Maggie resided in during these moments. It’s a tough and scary topic, but Dawes pushes you to consider all the options and angles. What if you were meant to disappear for a while so that you could save someone else? A child who desperately needs your help deserves unselfish reactions, right? Maggie and her husband chose not to have kids but was this a reality check? When she visits previous periods in her family’s life, learning what it was like for them to grow up, it destabilizes her core… Maggie can’t be sure which life she wants to hold on to – new or old. And can she change her mind?
In the end, she dives deep into understanding her new world, with the help of some friends and possible a foe or two, and she comes out stronger. But it is the shocking surprise finale that left me wondering… how much of this could really happen in our future? Dawes pushes me to think about past lives, reincarnation, soul therapy, and so much more. I enjoyed the writing style and development on the worlds most of all. If you’ve got an open mind and a love of ethereal and other worldly existences, this is a good one to read. I’m left wondering what additional themes the author explores in her other books now! Must check one out in the near future
A recent review for Deep Cover
Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2020
First let me say I do not read many spy thriller stories. Why? Because they scare the hell out of me. Author John L. DeBoer’s spy thriller novel, Deep Cover, is a perfect example of a story that puts my self-defense senses on high alert.
Would a story like this have frightened me twenty years ago? Most probably, not. But, I am reading Deep Cover during a time when the current state of the U.S.A. seems like it’s in some kind of crazy furor. And not just on two different sides, but on many different sides. Today’s politics don’t seem like the two-party system I learned about in school. Right now, I feel like the state of American politics is like one of those crazy wrestler cage matches. Instead of just two wrestlers, it’s like throwing a crowd of wrestlers into the cage. Then it’s every person for themselves. It’s like the direct opposite of dancing in the street.
My take on Deep Cover could be completely off base, but as I said, I don’t read many spy thrillers. DeBoer has expertly written a fast paced thriller novel. Deep Cover will get you where you live. The story revolves around spies meddling in the politics of other countries. And also paints what is probably a very accurate portrait of Russian spies who were placed in the U.S.A. and have been here for fifteen years.
Fifteen years is a long time. I moved from New York City to Texas, and in less than a year, I had affected a darn good Texas accent. And…I loved it! I think it was Neil Diamond who sang, “New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more.” Along that same vein, Deep Cover mentions a John Wayne movie. My family has been on a John Wayne movie kick here lately. I am familiar with the John Wayne movie, The Searchers. Deep Cover contains a reference to the movie likening the part of a young girl, played by Natalie Wood, to the lives of the Russian spies living in America. The girl had been captured by the Indians and she lived with the Indians, as an Indian for many years. She was an Indian. The similarity to how Natalie Wood became assimilated into the Native American culture and came to identify with the Indian way of life reflects the situation in the lives and feelings of many of the foreign spies who have lived in America for so long. I could see how that fact alone could serve to create a culture of self-sabotage by the spies who have been living comfortably for so long.
John DeBoer has written an intelligent and compelling spy thriller. Deep Cover is an absorbing, action-packed story. DeBoer makes the reader think. Deep Cover is an exceptional thought-provoking read.
One of the recent reviews for the book The Hitman and the Thief
I have been a fan of Richard Dee for many years. His sci-fi writing, particularly when describing space travel is very realistic and he uses his knowledge of the living and working on ships as a spring board for his writing. This is one of the things that sets him apart from other writers. Another is his ability to world build, creating realistic worlds for the reader to explore.
The Hitman and the Thief is a fast paced story with lots of action and intrigue.
Dan is an ex-veteran turned hitman/ enforcer but people are starting to wonder if he’s past his best. A dangerous thing in his line of work. He is determined to make a success of his latest hit but it all goes wrong when he meets the thief and he is left to pick up the pieces or pay the consequences….
I throughly enjoyed the pace and action in this book and recommend it to lovers of crime, thrillers, and sci-if!
One of the recent reviews for Roadside
Great YA story that includes strong family relationships and great friends. A fabulous storyline without all of the harsh language. Romance not unbridled lust. Well done Angie.
A recent review for Tales from the Annexe
Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2020
Having read all the author’s Herbert West novels, I was curious about the additional glimpses into that world afforded by this collection of stories. I enjoyed them all, with one of my favorites being “A Visit to Luxor” (I’m partial to the character of Andre, West’s only fully successful effort at resurrection). “One of the Fourteen” is chilling, and The Night Journey of Francis Dexter” is a must-read for Herbert West fans. I thought the weakest of these treatments was “The Nexus,” the introductory story. It isn’t something that grabs the attention and compels the reader to continue. Quarrington didn’t come to life for me. It might have been better placed at the end of the initial seven tales.
Actually, I enjoyed the final seven stories the most. They are great examples of the range of the author’s imagination, and her concluding comments on what inspired these stories was revelatory. She has the ability to work magic into a reality setting, even if the reality takes place in a constructed world (“The Blue Rose,” which reminded me a little bit of LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.”) I had read “The Ice Cream Truck from Hell” on the author’s blog, but I believe it has been reworked a bit and turned out perfect in the suggestiveness of its conclusion. “The Colour of Magic” was excellent, and “The Glamour” was definitely a favorite. The author’s ability to write great descriptive passages continues unabated.
I recommend this collection, even if you aren’t familiar with the Herbert West series. The concluding seven stories certainly make it worth the price of an ebook.
One of the recent reviews for The Heart’s Lullaby
A lovely collection of poetry principally about love, love lost and the heartbreak of being no longer loved. There is also a wonderful poem about time, plus poems about particular topics related to the puzzles that Natalie Ducey also creates. “Still Me,” is a touching poem about Alzheimer’s. And there are poems about those who serve in the military.
It is a personal, and touching poetry collection about the ups and downs and fragility of life andl love that you can easily return to again, perhaps gaining more on each visit.
I enjoyed all the collection but my personal favourites are:
A Father’s Love,
A Mother’s Love
To My Sister,
and The Heart’s Lullaby.
One of the recent reviews for the book
This fine book of Edmondson’s tells anew of the culture clash between white American settlers and the Native Americans who occupied the land for millennia prior to white settlement. But it’s not a re-warmed version of “white might wins;” instead, the author lives within the mind and heart of Tenaya, chief of the Ahwahneechee Indians, settled in the California mountains. His foil here is, for the most part, one James D. Savage, who has lived among the various tribal groups long enough to understand their languages and ways, but who is given to trading and cattle raising.
Whites begin to encroach on Ahwahneechee territory, and war ensues – the Maricopa Indian War of 1850-51. Edmondson follows the tracks of this conflict, never leaving Tenaya’s emotional side. He alternates a skilled and passionate prosaic view of Tenaya’s loyalty to his people, his sly ways with Savage and other whites, with superbly written poetic paeans to Tenaya and his tribe. As such,the book has the feel of George Keithley’s poetic opus, “The Donner Party.” “Great Spirit of Yosemite” will no doubt add value to this canon of the white push westward, and the inevitable ceding of Native American homelands to them. It’s a powerful closeup of both sides of this particular conflict and should be read and appreciated widely.
A review for Brilliant Disguise – Book One Charlie McClung Mysteries
This is a fantastic first book by an author I had not read before. It is a story that keeps you guessing to the very last chapter. The two protagonists Charlie McClung and Marian are very realistic and you can feel the bond between them. This book could be have been written by Agatha Christie with its twists and turns, touches of humor, and added clean romance. Certainly one of the best murder mysteries I have read. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good whodunnit.
One of the recent reviews for The Outlands
Using rich characterization to draw us into the world of the Undesirable and the varied other classes with which they compete, causes the reader to immediately choose sides. If you savor richly detailed post apocalyptic worlds trying to forge their way, you’re in for a treat. This series debut is a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments. The twists and turns of the story will leave you tired and breathless. Mr. Edwards has built a very imaginative and fresh storyline with suspense and intrigue at every turn. I cannot wait to find what our young band of friends encounter as they are forced to make their way in The Outlands. Be sure to secure your copy soon!!
One of the recent reviews for Defined by Others
Anne a 47 year-old woman’s husband has just left her for a man. After learning that a long lost friend of hers from her hometown in Florida has died and left her an inheritance Anne takes off to Florida to receive her inheritance and you know just go home for a little while, while she deals with a divorce.
Anne’s inheritance is not quite what she was expecting. No the inheritance was just a laptop and a video explaining about the inheritance. Anne’s friend Amanda has invited her to continue playing her little online game messing with other people’s lives.
The way I saw it was that after learning about Anne’s husband leaving her for a man played a big role in Amanda’s decision to invite Anne to play her game. I think that Amanda thought that playing this little online game would be sort of like a coping mechanism or some sort of therapy for Anne. Not that I agree with it but I do get the why behind it well sort of.
Anne reunites with another of her friends from high school, Connie who is herself dealing with divorce. Anne invites Connie to stay with her in her mother’s home. Anne invites Connie to play the game with her. Connie accepts.
I did make one connection with Anne and that is her connection with a word. I don’t have the same connection with a word as Anne does but I do love words. I love to read so therefore I love words. I remember telling a friend once that if I see a word I will read it. (There is a longer version of this story but I won’t bore you will the details now.)
What drew me to read Defined by Others was the author M.C.V. Egan and her writing. I am always up for reading one of her books actually I believe I have read all of her books now well with the exception of the revised edition of The Bridge of Deaths. I would recommend all of her books even if you don’t read that genre. So if you have not read one of M.C.V. Egan’s books what are you waiting for? Head on over to your favorite place to purchase books and start clicking.
One of the recent reviews for A Fiery End
I’m a big fan of the Peter Hatherall and Fiona Williams books, so I was very pleased to see this new addition to the series. Even though the story focuses more on Fiona, it was great to be reacquainted with all the characters in this roller-coaster ride of a mystery. The storyline begins with the two DIs coming across a burning camper van on a dark road and from there on, both the mystery and the suspects escalate. The plot involves deliberate and not so deliberate red herrings. It also involves vice rings, computer puzzles and apps. There are too many victims and loads of culprits but the puzzle is such that Fiona and her partner cannot fathom who is behind the sinister crimes until close to the explosive end of the book. What a page turner this turned out to be. I could barely put it down. This is also the closest Fiona has come to real romance, which in itself made it special. Well done, Diana Febry. A Fiery End was a terrific read and I hope Fiona and Peter will be back before too long.
My review for This Second Chance 16th January 2021
This story is about good and evil and how it lives side by side within individuals, with the choices we make, the only barrier between them. We all like to believe in second chances, but not everyone deserves them. However after suffering an abusive marriage, Rachael and her children are now being offered a new life with a wonderful man who would move heaven and earth to ensure their happiness.
When an evil spirit is also moving heaven and earth in search of revenge, it is a fight for survival for this new family and those they love. It will need the power of redemption and forgiveness, and a helping hand from a higher power to overcome the dangerous entity hunting them.
The past is entangled in the present, and unraveling the mystery of why the family has been targeted moves at breakneck speed towards the explosive climax.
The author has done an excellent job creating the two worlds inhabited by the characters who are bound to each other in desperation and in hope. There are elements of a number of genres including romance, paranormal and thriller and it is action packed from start to finish. A recommended read.
One of the recent reviews for Bubba Tails
Bubba Tails: From the Puppy Nursery at the Seeing Eye is a delightful story for all ages, told from the perspective of King Campbell, an older and more experienced Seeing Eye dog (trained to guide the blind). King Campbell appears at night to the puppies at the Seeing Eye School, and their mothers, and tells them stories about how he came to be selected for the school, his training process and meeting his forever mother. His stories help to allay some of the puppies own concerns and anxieties about the future when they undergo their training to be Seeing Dogs and eventually become companions to a blind person.
This is a most insightful book about how Seeing Dogs are selected, including the qualities they need to have to do this job, as well as the training process they go through before they are matched with a blind person. I say matched because that is exactly what happens, the person is paired with a suitable canine companion. I thought this was very interesting as I had never really thought about how close the relationship between a blind human and their Seeing Dog is prior to reading this book.
The second part of the story when Campbell meets his new forever owner was the most meaningful for me. It was a wonderful experience for me to learn about how the Seeing Dog and their new owner must adapt to working together. The Seeing Dog needs to learn to read their human owner’s body language and respond to subtle signals. The human must also learn to trust their dog and this is quite a difficult thing to do. I can understand that putting your faith in a dog, no matter how much you love it, must initially be difficult when you are unable to see and protect yourself. I loved reading about how this amazing trust developed between Campbell and his owner.
This is a book that everyone can read and enjoy for the story and also appreciate for its detailed insight into the relationship between Seeing Dogs and their owners, and also the world at large.
A recent review for The Vintage Egg
This is the first book by A.C. Flory I have read and I will definitely be reading more. Originality and uniqueness rate highly on my rating list for a book, and these six science fiction stories certainly meet that criteria. The stories are all well written and easy to read, which makes this book a great choice for most readers.
All of the stories assume a futurist world after an undisclosed event or series of events which turn Earth into a hot and arid desert. The surviving people of the world are forced to live in underground cities. Food sources have changed and meat is scarce and expensive. The population, forced to live this unnatural life, are kept entertained with digital games which are so realistic they are almost life experiences. There is, however, a limit on gaming time to prevent people from starving to death while playing. These are indications of how the unnatural lifestyle is impacting on people.
The Vintage Egg and The Egg Run are interlinked stories, with the former presenting the beginning and the later the ending, of one story idea. Both stories are complete and can be enjoyed as standalone reads. This is the tale of an elderly man’s dream of finding a way of exploring the ruined Earth above ground through the restoration of a vintage machine he acquires. He involves and interests his young grandson in his project and it becomes something they do together. The Egg Run depicts stage 2 of the project through the eyes of the grandson.
The Gamer and Brehak are another pair of stories, each told from a different characters point of view. This story is fascinating as it explores the lack of reality and truth presented in digital worlds and how both of the participants in this ‘life like’ game are totally deceived by the other’s digital avatar and how this lack of truth impacts on their lives.
The To-Do-List is an interesting peak into the differences between older and younger people when it comes to adapting to fast changing technologies. It is an entertaining, but frighteningly realistic, look, at the older generations determination to hold on to the past and they world they knew when they were younger, versus the younger generations easy ability to adapt to change.
The Christmas Roast was truly horrifying for me. The concepts explored in this short story about a world where food is short and improvisations have become the normal, was quite overwhelming for someone like me who has always bought milk in a bottle [does it really come from a cow?] and meat neatly packaged with few reminder that it was one a living, breathing creature.
A great book of short stories and one I have unhesitatingly given a 5-star rating.
A recent review for Little Tea on Goodreads
I’ve just discovered a rare gem!
Beloved author, Pat Conroy left behind a legacy that weaves it’s way through so much of southern fiction, but I trust he stopped by Claire Fullerton’s pen and whispered some of his wisdom! The proof is in her novel “Little Tea”!
She has that same knack of real-life, honest storytelling wrapped in beautifully eloquent prose. Every word being composed so harmoniously with the next.
Speaking of racism and social issues with both gentle heart and pulsating tension.
Love and relationships are lovely, exuberant, determined and even heartbreaking. When everything is cracking open like a broken glass on the hot Memphis asphalt, the sun is still shining through it.
Claire Fullerton speaks of the South and being a Southerner as a status only a few can attain. Almost a deserving right! The highest of honors! I love that she reveres the South so deeply and sincerely. She writes about the South with such love, you can sense her devotion! She elevates the Southern voice!! Claire is a true gift to both Southern and Literary Fiction!
I was completely enamored and enraptured with this story and each of characters. I even found myself beginning to put the book down one night, only to chose not to because I was just too captivated with even the places and more!! I just couldn’t sleep!
That same night, I found I was reading the last sentence, and I knew without a doubt I had been introduced to one of the most talented writers of our time!
In closing, I look forward to reading Claire Fullerton’s Collection! Time to order every single book!
One of the recent reviews for Silent Heroes
Poignant and thought-provoking, Silent Heroes gives readers an up-close and personal look behind the scenes of war in one of Afghanistan’s deadliest provinces. The author skillfully ties together the lives and objectives of a Marine K-9 unit serving in Helmand Province and a local community trying its best to survive as the Taliban’s rampant rule kills, threatens, abuses and uses them for its own sinister purposes. The author does an amazing job weaving the ravages and ruins of war into a beautiful heartrending story that is an eye-opener. Highly recommended!
One of the recent reviews for the book
Watching the Daisies is a very personal account of how the author, Brigid Gallagher, brings herself, her work and all the rest of her busy life under control to the point where she is able to more fully appreciate the day and the hour – the ‘now’ of her existence.
Her elegant, straight-forward prose carries the reader through a mostly happy existence from her early life in rural Scotland to her varied professional work in Edinburgh and eventually to her more restful and more centred life in the Ireland that her mother and father left seeking opportunities in Scotland.
Readers who are unfamiliar, as I was, with the less traditional (at least for the British Isles and Ireland) approaches to spiritual and physical well-being will find much to gain from Watching the Daisies. Brigid not only explores many of them but becomes a practising professional with a flair for leadership, innovation and success.
Although plagued by a chronic and sometimes debilitating illness, this is a happy book written by a happy person who at all times is able to take as much or more control of her life than many of us in order to come to a most satisfactory peace with herself.
As inspiring as the story Brigid Gallagher has to tell are the life lessons that she draws from each chapter of her life. Any reader will benefit greatly from reading this busy yet peaceful, analytic yet satisfyingly holistic memoir.
Author Elizabeth Gauffreau resurrects the forgotten childhood fantasy of running away to join the circus with a twist in her novel, Telling Sonny.
Set in America’s idyllic early 20th century, a time of outwardly polite courtesies and thoughtfulness, Telling Sonny follows a young girl’s tragic fall from respectability to a life of white-knuckled survival among society’s counter-culture of traveling vaudeville entertainers.
Young Faby Gauthier, fresh out of high school wonders what’s to become of her life when the annual vaudeville show comes to her home town of Enosburg, Vermont.
Despite the drab setting in the Enosburg’s Opera House, Faby, accompanied by her sister and best friend, Josephine, is captivated by that year’s cavalcade of acts especially a song and dance number done by ‘America’s Favorite Hoofer,’ a tall, lanky fella known by his stage name, Slim White.
One of the early reviews of Dead of Winter – The Journey
This story will unfold in monthly installments (Journeys), and in this first novelette, the author introduces the reader to the fantasy world, to the main protagonist, Emlyn, and to a few secondary characters who impact her life. I read this Journey in less than an hour.
Emlyn lives with her father and sister in a rural village where the culture is patriarchal and restrictive, with women bearing the brunt of the harsh control. This doesn’t bode well for Emlyn who has the ability to see ghosts. Osabide, Emlyn’s elderly teacher and a wise woman reminds her not to share knowledge of her gifts with anyone, because her strange skill could cost her everything, including her life.
The story is told from Emlyn’s point of view, and the reader gets glimpses of her encounters with ghosts as well as a mysterious white wolf. The novelette raises questions, and there are teasers galore, including an underlying sense of danger. An excellent start to an epic tale, recommended to readers who enjoy fantasies and want to try a different sort of reading experience. I’m looking forward to the next Journey.
A recent review for The Last Pilgrim
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience though did become confused at times as to the relationships of people. I wonder if there was much inbreeding or if some of the religious rules were in effect against kinsmen marrying.
The frequent deaths especially of the women in childbirth was heart wrenching. The constant work for the good wives was unimaginable as compared to today’s times. We live such a cooshy life nowadays. With perinatal death and or maternal death grounds for malpractice.
The thoroughness of the research and attention to details was admirable. I could imagine myself in the house, garden or fields while I read this book. I would highly recommend this book as both an enthralling look into our past as well as emotional journey through the eyes of a wonderful woman’s life.
Thank you Noelle, for your fantastic journey you allowed us to accompany you on. It will stay with me for a very long time.
A recent review for Impending Disaster in Spanish (I have translated into English as well)
Una historia corta pero emocionante. Un grupo de tres amigos ha sufrido un severo accidente de aviación que los deja heridos en plena montaña, pero pronto se darán cuenta de que ese desastre no es nada frente al que se avecina: se ha formado una laguna en lo alto de la montaña que está a punto de colapsar. Si no llegan a tiempo para avisar al pueblo asentado a las faldas, una enorme ola de agua, rocas y lodo se cobrará las vidas de todos en el lugar.
A short but exciting story. A group of three friends have suffered a severe aviation accident that leaves them injured in the middle of the mountain, but they will soon realize that this disaster is nothing compared to the one that lies ahead. A lagoon has formed at the top of the mountain that is about to collapse. If they do not arrive in time to notify the people living on the slopes, a huge wave of water, rocks and mud will claim the lives of everyone.
My review for the book October 27th 2020
This book is not just about the unique history of the Huguenots, which is compelling, tragic and inspiring, but is also how the legacy of these refugees from religious persecution enriched the lives of millions today around the world.
Covering 500 years this book takes us through the wars, revolts, betrayals and eventual sanctuary found in England and other parts of Europe, as well as the far outposts of the world in later centuries including South Africa. As refugees they were generally made welcome as the Huguenots brought with them a wealth of artisan skills which were highly regarded in their host countries, a strong moral and work ethic, and a belief in community and its well-being.
The author shares detailed histories of the countries of origin and the host nations. The Protestant and Catholic conflicts of the middle ages onward were a time of great uncertainty. Your religion was subject to a change in status on a frequent basis as kings and queens ascended the various European thrones. This included the thrones in Scotland and England during the 15th and 16th centuries.
It was fascinating to learn more about the various artisan skills that the refugees brought with them and re-established in London and some other major cities in England, Scotland and Ireland. The author gives detailed accounts of these such as silk production and spinning, gold and silver work, clocks and watchmaking, architecture and design, furniture making and printing. On the medical front leading doctors and scientists established protocols and advances in obstetrics and the establishment of pharmacies. Over the centuries Huguenot business leaders set in motion commercial ventures that are the origins of the Bank of England and our stock market.
It was interesting to discover that many well known authors, artists and actors that have brought their talent to the arts around the world were of Huguenot ancestry.
As well as the detailed history of the Huguenots as protestants from diverse nationalities, Joyce Hampton also shares the stories of individuals with a background to their reasons for seeking sanctuary, and how they brought great benefits to the adopted countries. These bring a personal element to the book that I much enjoyed, especially as it brought some people and events in my own life to mind. I had not given any thought to the name of my teacher in South Africa for example, but from the book I discovered that Miss Du Plessis was of Huguenot origins.
I can recommend this book to history lovers, genealogists and writers of historical novels as the detail and research is impeccable. For those researching their family trees it is a great reference for identifying possible Huguenot connections over the last 500 years, particularly if you originate from London or other major cities where the refugees settled.
More than anything, I came away from reading the book with a sense of hope. Today we see parallels to the religious persecution of 500 years ago, with millions still fleeing oppression and seeking sanctuary which is often denied. Without the acceptance and integration of Huguenots within our society, many of the advances in science, economics, commerce and the arts would be sadly lacking in our modern world. We need to take on board some of the lessons from the past.
A recent review for Eternal Road
This is an amazing read! The first two pages lead one into one direction, then, suddenly off into an exciting new direction. Hardly able to put the book down. Highly recommended for those wanting a completely new adventure, unlike anything one has read, before.
A recent review for A Box of Memories
It’s unusual for me these days to pick a book of short stories to read. I’m inclined to choose novels in a number of different genres. That’s been the focus of my own writing for the last few years. But Allan Hudson’s delightful collection of stories, A Box of Memories, reminded me of what I’ve been missing.
The characters all feel like real people, sometimes strange, sometimes quirky, but always memorable. Hudson takes you back to your childhood with the two stories featuring ten-year-old Beans and Chops. Okay, you have to be old enough to imagine youthful adventures before cell phones and the internet, but even if you’re not that old, the stories hold up beautifully. Hudson has a knack for putting the reader in the midst of a time and place that feel comfortable.
The stories in A Box of Memories feature characters of both genders, ages from preteen to octogenarian, times from the early settling of the West to well into a future not yet realized. Pretty much all of the characters are relatable to most of us, even if we’ve never been so poor we had to attend funeral receptions to be able to get a decent meal, even if we’ve never found an abandoned baby, even if we’ve never escaped slavery in the old South. That’s because the characters are at once appealing and feel real for their time and place. That’s not such an easy thing to accomplish, but Hudson has the talent and the empathy to pull it off beautifully.
One of the advantages of a collection of short stories is that you have clear stopping points. There are no cliff hangers that force you on to the next chapter, even when it’s well past your bedtime. But I found myself reading right through these stories in a few days. I was anxious to see where Hudson’s imagination would take me next, and I wasn’t disappointed even once. A Box of Memories gets my highest recommendation.
A recent review for the collection
Miriam Hurdle’s collection of poetry is a song about life. She writes from her heart, uses images we all understand, and positions photographs throughout. This is a book to savor, to read one section at a sitting, to return to a particular poem over and over again, to simply enjoy. The book drew me to Miriam’s blog, which is as lovely as the book. If you like poetry, this one will warm your heart. Highly recommend.
A recent review for One Month, 20 Days and a Wake Up
The story is very compelling. Mr. Jackson’s description of his tour in Viet Nam portrayed in vivid detail made me feel as if I was there in the moment. The story has high suspense and the imagary is powerful. I never heard about PJs and I wouldn’t know of their contribution without this book.
A recent review for Playing in the Rain
You awake in an unknown environment. You can’t remember who you are or where you’re from, but you know where you are now is not where you ought to be. You feel trapped, because you are. You feel alone, because ….because…You can’t remember why, but you know you weren’t alone before. Before waking up whereever you currently are.
Lead character, A2, is in a facility called C.E.C.I.L: the Contagion Eradication Center for Intelligent Life. There is a man named Jasper there, who provides and controls everything, including the drugs she is being pumped full of, because ….because….she doesn’t know why. Danger and mystery meld with confusion and hazy memories of a life she only barely recalls. A2 meets B2, and they discover they were sisters, before….before whatever happened that brought them here….whereever they are, though neither know why.
Jackson’s first book in the Escape Series, Playing in the Rain: When All That Matters is Freedom pulls you right into the story from page one, slowly yet inexorably, leaving you as dazed and confused as A2. Page after deliciously-mystifying page, you follow A2 and B2 as their situation goes from bad to worse, yet gets better and better. If you love immersing yourself into a story body and soul, where you can end up exhausted from the remarkable confusion the author maintains chapter after chapter, dragging you and her characters along an unforseen path to an undisclosed conclusion while spinning in a web of intrigue that will leave everyone ensnared and gasping for breath, then prepare yourself. This one will not disappoint you.
It will not give up its secrets quickly or easily, either. Settle in and prepare for the inescapably claustrophobic, diabolically mind-spinning ride of your life!
A recent review for The Prince’s Man
I read this book as part of a different boxed set but it’s going to be added separately to the other two in its series as soon as I get them. It deserves it! The male protagonist is cocky but not always as sure as he likes to seem. The female protagonist is an arrogant, know-it-all with her own agenda. And then they’re thrown together in a desperate mission to save the kingdom & the lives of the people they care about. I won’t give lots of spoilers (or why read the book) but there are elves, trolls, dungeons, & a nasty little torture chamber complete with an egomaniac who loves to inflict pain. You’ve GOT to read this book! Loved it!
A recent review for The Red Dress August 20th 2020
The following is a portion of a review from Gerardo Corripio, who listened to the recorded version from the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled. (NLS) It was posted on an email list for NLS users.
This is one of those novels that’s a light read, but also has lots of little life tidbits that get you to think. The moral that comes to mind after reading the novel is something to the effect of “closing cycles”. It’s very realistically done, and I was able to readily identify with the characters, their situations and dynamics needed to cope. Forgiveness and its rewards are also a moral of the novel. How liberating it can be, not only for the ones affected, but for the families involved!
A recent review for My Name is Danny
Danny was a real dog and writer. He was a frequent contributor to several blogs and detailed his life and the challenges of putting up with his owner, author Andrew Joyce. If you like dogs, you will love this book. Danny tells it like it is. He does not hold back on any subject and frequently delves into the philosophical side by tackling matters that plague us all.
His subjects range from Andrew’s choice of women to locating the next meal. It is interesting to note that Danny and Andrew had been together for over thirteen years, and it appears that Danny tried his best to train Andrew. The reader can witness in the book that very little training stuck.
This book is filled with delightful stories of Danny and Andrew’s relationship and is an entertaining read.
One of the recent reviews for A Justified State
Iain Kelly’s debut novel is a cracking thriller that begins with the assassination of a politician & never lets up until the dramatic conclusion.
Set in an unnamed State in the near future the author creates a totally believable time & place. Unlike some authors Kelly aviods pretentious descriptions of his fictional society & just gets on with the story. The characters & the world they inhabit are perfectly drawn & A Justified State works equally well as a crime story, an action adventure & a dystopian science fiction novel.
The sequel, A State of Denial, is something I will definitely be reading.
A recent review for The Widow’s Son
When you get a promotion, you would expect problems; hopefully, that can be solved with help from your cohorts. In Patrick West’s case, his predecessor, Geoffrey, is not upfront with the real situations at hand, which he must confront in his new position.
From the first banter between these two spymasters, Geoffrey’s lies lead Patrick into a maze of international intrigue that elitists have festered. Many characters are involved in a diabolical conspiracy.
Sorting it out is Patrick’s job as head of a British Joint Intelligence Committee. What he uncovers after finding out the truth, culminates into a near disaster.
This novel is the third in a trilogy, beginning with ‘What Happened in Vienna Jack?’ then, ‘Once I Was a Soldier,’ that I have read because of Mr. Kemp’s grasp of English (UK) language. The tit for tat of the main character’s lucid conversations kept me turning the pages to see what came next.
I love a conspiracy novel of fiction, particularly one that leads to an unpredictable ending. It would be best if you started by reading book one. However, this novel stands on its own.
One of the recent reviews for The Places we Haunt
An excellent collection–I highly recommend it!
One of the recent reviews for Polish Your Prose
I found this book to be so informative. As a new author, I will refer back to it again and again before I send my finished manuscripts off to my editor. It’s easy to follow and is a ‘must read’ for anybody self-publishing. Thank you Harmony 😁
One of the early reviews for The Ender
As the other installments in this series, I loved very much.I couldn’t wait till this one came, so I could finish the story and I wasn’t disappointed. Laney went through a journey here with decisions. The writing, plot and structure was on point and it kept me going , even do I took my time because I didn’t want it to end.This book along with the other two will draw you from the beginning.I highly recommend this series.
One of the early reviews for Fallen Princeborn Chosen
Continuing her quest, Charlotte strives to end the conflict between opposing sides of the magical Velidevour, before the land of River Vine and its inhabitants are consumed by Orna, Lady of the Pits. Unfortunately, Orna is not the only one who wants hold of the Princeborn Liam’s heart. Can Charlotte keep Liam safe while battling the evil forces that threaten him?
‘Fallen Princeborn: Chosen’ continues on from the first book, ‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’, being a series of YA dark-fantasy novels. Though I’m not keen on long retellings of what happened in previous books, I did find it a little confusing trying to recall who everyone was, so a little bit of back story here and there would’ve helped enormously. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of the genre, but Ms Lee has a particular way with language that makes it a delight to read. Her prose is rich and colourful, and her world-building skills are never perfunctory or half-baked (as with some fantasy authors). The characters are thoughtful and fully formed, with their own individual traits and quirks. Though I did get a little confused (again) with the variety of personalities, the story starts with a bang and rattles along nonstop thereafter. With plenty of action, weird monsters and shapeshifters, there’s lots here to keep fantasy fans happy for hours.
It’s worth noting that while this can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend reading the previous book first to avoid confusion.
One of the recent reviews for The Dead at Heart
The Dead At Heart is the third book in the Dead Game Series, and proves Susanne Leist is a talented writer and unique storyteller. I often read paranormal books, I must say This book held my interest and never let go, until the last page. And honestly that last page did not let go as it left me wanting to read more about the characters.
The twist and turns are amazing, and as in the previous books, you become attached to the uniquely interesting characters. Leist offers readers vivid descriptions of scenery making you feel as though you are alongside her characters. I’ve been a paranormal reader, so I give kudos to the author for drawing me into this novel.
This book is fraught with tension and fear and love and friendship. The friends all worry what each other will think and if they can still be friends. You get to read about the fascinating transformations. That is another thing that is so nice about these book, you are not left wondering how or why, you are given explanations on how these beings can live in our real world.
Susanne’s Imagination is completely off the charts. I guess the bottom line is that I loved this book and the characters.
One of the recent reviews for The Sincerest form of poetry
A great collection of poems inspired by poets of the past. Mr. Le Pard uses his clever use of words and wit to create poems most readers can relate to. I don´t read much poetry but enjoyed this collection. The writer´s love of his family, dog and garden comes through. While many of the poems are humorous, there are some more serious ones as well. My favourite is Hand-Me-Down, written for his daughter, which left a lump in my throat. Serious environmental issues are also addressed in a couple of poems. Well worth a read.
A recent review for My Gentle War
This memoir focuses primarily on the years 1939 through 1941 when the author was 9-11 years old, a child living in Wales with her younger brothers during WWII. The children were sent to Wales to escape the more dangerous areas around London.
This isn’t a harsh story. It’s a recounting of life from the perspective of a child and is, therefore, full of fun and imagination and resilience. There are “ear-wigging” glimpses into the adult world, news of the war, and letters from the author’s dad who was serving in France. The sad and confusing realities of war surely intrude on daily life, but the focus is on friends and relatives, memorable gatherings and events. There are new trousers, dance performances, and games of truth or dare!
Lennick’s writing is witty and conversational, and she includes a handful of poems commemorating particular memories. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the brief jump ahead at the end to the conclusion of the war. The feeling of joy is palpable in the pages.
One of the recent reviews for A slice of Lemon short stories
A brilliant and beautiful collection of short stories for adults. Jude Lennon has put together a real treat for those who like a quick pick me up book to read. My favourite was Civilised Outrage as that short story is set in Amsterdam by the Anne Frank museum. Amaterdam is one of my most favourite places I have visited.
I have rarely picked up a non-fiction book that drew me in like Marian’s account of her life growing up as a Mennonite. Her sensory-rich writing style, lyrical and almost musical in quality, delighted me as her scenes unfolded. I did not recall the scent of linoleum until she described it and brought back my own memories of days gone by. Linoleum! Her words disappeared in the sheer experience of what she described. I wrote many of them down in order to savor them a little longer before reading on.
The strong will that caused so many problems with one member of her family, and her longing to be who she was within the confines of plain versus fancy, reminded me of my own journey into Christianity. I thrilled at her mother’s healing, identified with her desperate search to escape the basement, understood her stubborn fight against parental tyranny, and wanted to be invited to her family’s table for the meals she made me smell and taste with her wonderful descriptions.
Marian’s honest and beautiful memoir is one I’ll revisit, one that will stick with me as an unforgettable experience. If it were possible to rate as high as ten stars, this would be the book at the top. I loved it.
Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.
One of the recent reviews for Where Irises Never Grow
I’ve read a handful of books from Paulette, and have loved every one of them, but with Where Irises Never Grow she’s topped herself. I enjoy taking a journey with writers, and not just within their stories but with them as a writer, from the first book to the last one, each writer gets better in their craft, and Where Irises Never Grow is proof positive of this assumption. If I could give another star to this latest book I would. This isn’t to say the authors previous books were not good, because that would be a falsity, I’m referring to an incredible writers growth into something more. Paulette has a way of weaving tragedy into depths of character development, using history through a modern lens to reflect the tyranny and hope that exists within human hearts. An excellent piece of literature, you need to follow this author.
One of the recent reviews for Mr. Sagittarius
“Mr. Sagittarius” is a wonderful collection of poetry, prose, and pictures weaved into a magical story. The book focuses on three older siblings. The male twins have developed a special relationship, making their sister feeling left out. When one twin passes, that leaves the brother and sister to grieve. The stories have powerful images that move the narrative along and sometimes veer off into the unknown for a quick visit. We are led through picturesque scenery and whimsical moments, which include an unusual bubble bath, a rainbow hat, and an ice cave. The poetry was beautiful and powerful, and the photos captured nature brilliantly. A quick read that I found relaxing and endearing. A perfect escape in unsettled times that I recommend.
One of the recent reviews for Secrets of the Galapagos
I thoroughly enjoyed “Secrets of the Galapagos” not just for the page-turning suspense, but the virtual tour of the Galapagos. The story follows Giovanna Rogers, a young woman off on a cruise of the famed islands with her grandmother, in the aftermath of a failed engagement and business venture. Her troubles take a backseat to mystery when she tries to report the disappearance of another passenger during a snorkeling excursion, but nobody will listen. The plot thickens with suspicious characters, the murder of a tour guide, and unexpected twists and turns that ratchet up the danger for Giovanna as she closes in on the truth.
Please visit Marcia’s Amazon page to view all her books.
One of the recent reviews for Emissary 3: Love Hurts
I really wondered how Meara was going to wrap up this series. At the end of book 2, Dodger receives permission from the Archangel Azrael to experience a loving relationship with a girl. But I just couldn’t imagine how it would work between a human and an immortal emissary of the angels. Well, silly me for being skeptical. The author pulls it off beautifully, though not at all how I expected. I was a teary mess.
This is a wonderful series with characters that I completely empathized with. They’re supremely human, emotional, and kind-hearted. Even scary old Azrael is enjoyable as he loosens up a little. Though there are problems to be overcome in the story, the main conflict centers on the challenge I posed above. The ending is brave, believable, and emotionally stunning.
The writing is tight, and the editing is flawless. The books in the Emissary series aren’t long, so they make for quick satisfying reads. I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning of the series. A wonderful trilogy for readers who enjoy feel-good stories.
One of the recent reviews for the collection
I’ve followed Elizabeth Merry’s blog for most of the last year, and when she published a collection of short stories, I wanted to check them out. We All Die In the End provides scenes from a small town, focusing on a core group of characters who are related, friends, or enemies… and as we jump from scene to scene, we learn a little more about them.
Written in a calm, easy tone, the characters are interesting and memorable. A few have quite the strong personality and demonstrate their British and Irish roots. I enjoyed the commentary on life, as each story tells us something about different relationships in our lives… different experiences we all have, from cleaning the house to affairs and from surprise pregnancies to love and loss. It reminds me of the stories or movies where you get tidbits about people’s lives and have to figure out how it all fits together.
Merry has a wonderful voice and easily shares several great tales that are relatable and personal. I like seeing how writers take their craft from blogs to books and back again. The cover is adorable, and that wave is ready to splash down on all the characters. Some don’t know it’s coming; others are simply trying their best, as we all do, to make it through the day. In the end, as Merry poignantly points out, aren’t we all headed for the same destiny?
A recent review for Against All Odds
I normally review trilogies by reading the first book in the series but in this case I went against my norm by starting at the last first. This maybe because I have a passing interest in writings about early man and had read some of the works by Jean M Auel, starting with The Clan of Cave Bear, and having enjoyed them.
In this work I did not feel a pressing need to go back into the history of the central character but felt that I knew enough about primitive humans to skip that part. I may have missed out on some of the story but feel that any novel featuring the same central characters should be able to stand on its own. I found this book in that regard was largely able to do that. However, it contained a large assortment of characters with strangely spelt names which probably made who they were and how they interacted clearer if I had indeed started with the first book.
The author had done her research and obviously knew a great deal about the period of which she was writing. This was clear not only from the list of references at the end but also of the descriptions she used in the narrative. Giving such characters depth is a challenge in itself as primitive peoples were far more involved in surviving from day to day than interacting with each other in what we would describe as a social level today. The author manages this extremely well, giving the objects, animals and people that surround them names that were possibly used by humans of that time. The book is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it.
An advance review for Paris Escapade on Goodreads
Novel as entertainment. An absorbing series of mishaps. A bildungsroman that appeals to an escapist audience. T. M. Has the ability to put you right in the action. And I was not bored for a single page.
It reads fast, goes down smooth, and definitely radiates authenticity. The city of Paris (and other locales) feels lived in. Through the author’s mesmeric storytelling, I felt transported across several European countries. The cheeky first person narrator is young, naive, but intelligent and full of potential, towing overblown notions, and a perpetual novel-in-progress-cum-memoir. The adventure is an exercise in nostalgia for the 60s, and is infused with cool detachment. Also, simultaneously a comment and an homage to ex-pat Narcissistic literature.
Charming, witty, intrigued by every passing looker, our prototypical writer-narrator is surprising, and quick to decide on the next step in his self-directed destiny.
With convincing realism, including plenty of French phrases, with proper context to aid the reader’s understanding, a very detailed backdrop is set constantly in motion by the shifting fortunes of the main character. Tense urgency accompanies every scene, from the clash with pseudo intellectuals, amid the cultural innuendoes and the spectacle that always arises from Americans setting foot in Europe, to the hormone-fueled tangled plot wrapped up in crimes and prostitution.
The times I have spent in Europe made me wish I could stay, could run away and forge some alternate reality for myself. Yet, I see the sights, devour the food, and leave, always vowing to return. This book is the next best thing to taking a vacation, and acting on a few of those impulses. It was great fun to gallivant around Paris and the other gorgeous cities, to hang out with this eclectic crowd and mingle for a while with the vanished past
One of the recent reviews for Crescent City Moon
Well, I was going to wait until tomorrow to write this review because I stayed up way too late to finish this book. But I’m not going to be able to sleep for a while as the experience I just went through needs to settle in my mind before I can drop off into a peaceful slumber. This book grabs you from the beginning. Spooky. Surreal. Unbelievably taut and tense from start to finish.
This first installment in the Crescent City series set in New Orleans in the early 1800’s introduces us to Zeolie Cheval who sees unspeakable things happen to her father on the eve of her twenty-first birthday. How does she stop this evil force that is now coming for her? As I was reading, I had to remind myself to breathe. And forget about putting it down.
It wasn’t going to happen. So I’m hoping that talking about my reaction to this story, so engrossing and deliciously scary, will help me sleep the way I did last night. You know. Before reading this book. Back when I didn’t have to look around corners and turn on lights before stepping into rooms I knew by heart on those dark nights before this. (Were they really this dark before??) I think I will probably be okay. But maybe I need to start the second book in the series instead. Yeah. I think that’s what I need to do. But with the house alarm on. And all the lights. Thanks, Nola Nash, for the signed copy of an exquisitely written story that I will be thinking about for a long time to come. (But I hope not too long. Because of, well you know, sleep.)
One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet
This is a wonderfully written, important book. When I read the first few paragraphs of a review on a book blog I happened onto, (thinking at first glance by the cover and title that it was going to be a lighthearted book, intended for young children) I thought-wow! I really like the way this author writes! I left the blog and immediately bought the eBook. And I did not want to stop reading, although I had to, for things like sleep, work, etc. Throughout, with the different vignettes set in the lives of families of various cultures, I felt warmed sometimes, and then very sad sometimes, and educated in things I didn’t realize, and in the end, I finished feeling with a hopeful heart. I think many people would benefit from reading this book.
A recent review for I Love Your Cupcakes by Rosie Amber Review Team member Tovia Inokoba 18th November 2020
Where there are cakes, there’s sure to be romance. I love your cupcakes is a work of fiction that envelops you in the sugary webs of both sensational romance and astounding baking.
It’s a book centered on three like-minded creatives; Dulcina or Dulce who is every bit as sweet as her name implies is a lover of books and the goddess of flavors, Adelfa whose chemistry skills have not only brought her fame amongst intellectuals but has also made her a mastermind at calculating measurements and what not in the kitchen and last but not the least; Storm whose creativity and computer genius always has everyone in awe and his looks goes without saying as I would have swooned myself if he didn’t play for the other team. These three creatives teamed up to create what they would later come to know as Literally Literary Cupcakes and Cakes shop. Not only was Storm a creative genius and a computer wizard, he was also a spontaneous force to be reckoned with as it was him who got them into the ‘’Do you have what it takes to be the next baking star?’’ contest where they may or may not have found love.
This author uses flashbacks which such ease and synergy that it’s commendable. She’s able to tell the story with a seamless description and a diction that makes it easy to comprehend. If you’re a fan of romance as well as sugary treats then this sweet romance is definitely for you.
Will Dulce, Adelfa and Storm rise up to the task and prove that they have what it takes to be the next baking star or will dirty Harry be the end of them?
If you are nuts about TV cookery programs and think chocolate is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, keep reading…
I Love Your Cupcakes is a “sweet” romance, a virtual fantasy high in calories and a fun adventure. Dare to give it a bite!
Dulce, Adelfa and Storm, the protagonists of I Love Your Cupcakes are business partners, friends and share some “interesting” family connections.
One of the recent reviews for The Beating Heart on Goodreads
‘We look before and after’, wrote Shelley… but this poet doesn’t ‘pine for what is not’;
rather she shows how memory transforms lives through the constant toing and froing of consciousness. Punctuated with moments of stillness, when we ‘see into the life of things’, consciousness is not chronological. Such moments of recognition are both poet’s and readers’; they illuminate matters of the heart and of the head…and how intertwined the
Ordinary details resonate: ‘our mothers down the generations casually/
Pegged our lives out there on the washing line’, gloves clutch ‘at brown paper bags/
like holy relics’, ‘Under the trees, a man’s rough call/ Blurry with drink and loneliness,/
Lingers in the hot air.’
This poetry affirms the power of recall:
‘And so your photo
Still sits in front of me,
A haunting, present absence.’
Take the time to read and reflect; this small, still book is ‘a gift for the taking.’
One of the recent reviews for Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods
A truly gripping historical fiction which takes place in Stalinist Russia during World War II . Danger is lurking everywhere. People are disappearing without a trace. Trust doesn’t exist during this time period . What I found to be quite disturbing is the journey of two women living in two different cities and the choices and decisions they are faced with. In time their paths will cross, not in a good way but in an unnerving way. The author did an amazing job painting a picture of what it was like to live in these horrifying times. A must read!!!