Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #YAFantasy Deborah E. Bowman, #Psychological #Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll.


Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet Deborah A. Bowman

Deborah Bowman has been sharing her stories and poems her whole life–her first poem published in a 4-H magazine at just 12 years old. She loves just about all genres of fiction and collects classical literature. Deborah’s recent selections are close to her heart. She has a passion and a crusade for the headline-driven factual and historical material which she weaves into novels and novellas.

Deborah has a 20+-year history as well as formal education in writing, editing, proofreading, and publishing. She believes strongly in helping first-time and seasoned writers alike create quality books and eBooks at clasidconsultantspublishing.com. She does free reviews and critiques. “Books are timeless; readers are forever.”

Deborah has various upcoming projects, but is always happy to hear from you and connect on social media:

Books by Deborah A. Bowman

A recent review for Delilah Astral Investigator Infinity Series: Episode 2, The Boy Who Would Be King

Colleen M. Chesebro

Delilah Sanchez, her amazing cat, Mollie, and the 1774 American Colonial Lord Bartholomew Darnesworth Wharton, III, (Bartie) are back for another time travel adventure. This time, the threesome travel back to the year, 1502, the day before Prince Arthur Tudor’s death.

No one understands how or why they were chosen to intervene in the events unfolding before them. All they know is that this one change can ripple through time changing the present. After a series of Astral projections, Bartie and Delilah fear that the war they are witnessing would evolve into World War III in their reality. They believe they are the guardians, entrusted with saving their world. How do you save the past and the future at the same time?

Bartie is forced to make some hard choices. But now, he carries the guilt from those decisions. He’s fallen hard for Delilah. How does he tell her the truth of what really happened?

The author combines YA fantasy, history, and a bit of romance to create an exciting time travel novel. This is the second book in the series, and to maintain the character background I would start with the first novel, “Episode One, The Boy and the Shopkeeper: Delilah, Astral Investigator Infinity Series.”

This fast-paced adventure will keep you up long into the night!

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – follow Deborah on : Goodreads – blog: Bowman Author – Twitter:
@Bowmanauthor

Meet Lucinda E. Clarke

Lucinda E Clarke [not her real name] was born in Dublin, but has lived in 8 other countries to date. She wanted to write but was railroaded into teaching. She had a habit of “falling” into other careers, announcing on radio, then scriptwriting for radio and television. She has been a professional writer since 1986 winning over 20 awards for her work, including mayoral speeches, company profiles, drama documentaries, educational programmes for radio and television, adverts, news inserts, court videos, National Geographic, cookery programmes, to name but a few!

She lectured in scriptwriting, had her own column in various publications, and written for national magazines. She was commissioned for two educational books by Heinemann and Macmillan, and book reports for UNESCO and UNICEF.

She graduated into running her own video production company in South Africa.

A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke

A recent review for A Year in the Life of Belinda Brand

Lindylou 5.0 out of 5 stars Very Clever, well-thought-out Plot  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 May 2021

Very Clever, well-thought-out Plot

Wow, what can I say? I have long awaited this book, the fourth in the series, and boy, I was not disappointed. I can go so far as to say, I think this was the best in the series, I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I could not put it down and read it in one sitting.

Belinda has been a stand-out character throughout the series, starting off as the troublesome step-daughter, always full of anger, rebellion, and mischief mainly triggered by her emotions. Now in her early 20s, Belinda has written a book, won a literary prize, and is now a famous author, albeit one with a secret.

Belinda is on her way to the big time, arriving in Hollywood, her book is to be made into a movie, her agent, Pamela Argent, is along for the ride and rather unscrupulous, withholding royalties and stringing Belinda along. The book is filled with kidnaps, villains, hippy commune along with a dishy policeman who is not all he seems to be, lots of twists and turns, including a car chase. I was held captive to the very end and, was totally engrossed.

I have said it before but, I will say it again. Lucinda is a very talented writer, writing with such consummate skill, everything is in fine detail and delivers a well-constructed story. In her unique style, this book contained the usual nail-biting episodes we have come to love and expect and it did not disappoint. Yet another edge-of-the-seat thriller that leaves you wanting more.

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

Meet Audrey Driscoll

I began writing fiction in 2000 when I decided that H.P. Lovecraft’s character Herbert West needed a life story. The result was a series of four books, all available as ebooks and in print.

She Who Comes Forth is a sequel to the series. Tales from the Annexe is a collection of short stories. Both books are available in both print and ebook form. Four of the stories in the collection were originally published as separate ebooks, which are no longer available.

When I’m not writing, I am wrestling with plants on a 50 x 120 foot patch of ground in Victoria, British Columbia.

Books by Audrey Driscoll

A recent review for Hunting the Phoenix

BB James 4.0 out of 5 stars Brings the past to life  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 March 2021

I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy this book, since the ‘paranormal’ isn’t my usual genre of choice, but by chapter 2 I was hooked by the author’s vivid evocation of her story and its actors.

The characters were interesting and well developed and the plot contains plenty of twists and turns to keep readers engrossed.

I loved mentally accompanying the heroine, the journalist Miss Halsey, on her mission to research the apparent suicide of a nineteenth-century surgeon, who was being sued following an unsuccessful operation, and finally to uncover the truth of what happened after more than a hundred years.

The author has carefully researched the eras, past and present, in which the story is set and I loved her accomplished literary style and wonderful descriptive talent that permeate every page of the book.

This is my first foray into the Herbert West series, and although I’m late to the party, this being volume 4, I didn’t feel unwelcome since the book reads well as a standalone novel. The book is as hot as its title implies.

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

 

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

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Supernatural Adele Marie Park, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll.


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore Weekly News – where I will share recent reviews for authors in the Cafe.

Firstly some great news from Marcia Meara who has created a three book boxed set of The Emissary series for you to enjoy..

About the series and book 1

From Book 1: Was Gabe Angelino, the mysterious truck driver in Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2, really an angel, as Willow Green believes? Or was he simply a good man, determined to help a stranger in need? Find out, as author Marcia Meara reveals the truth in the first Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary.

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.

A five star review for Book 1 in the series to whet your appetite.

Harmony Kent5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and intriguing  Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2020

I won this book, along with the other two in The Emissary series, from an online competition. As I’ve read other books by this author, I was eager to read these. And I’m so glad I bumped this novella up my to-be-read list. It is a short but thoroughly enjoyable read, and I’ll be reading the next two as soon as I can.

The writer brings you all the emotions you could ask for in a book: humour (lots of laugh-out-loud momemts), sadness, despair, grief, determination, hope, etc.

I loved the two main characters in The Emissary, and Azrael is brilliant. The whole concept of overworked angels grabs my interest and arouses my sense of humour. All in all, a fun and intriuging read. It gets 5 stars from me.

Buy the series : Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

   

Discover other books by Marcia Meara, read the reviews and buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

The next author with a recent review for her latest book is Adele Marie Park – #gothic #supernatural – Wolfe Manor

About Wolfe Manor

Once she lived a normal life, a good, boring life, but a safe one…

Abandoned as a baby on the steps of Wolfe Manor, Fianna was raised with love, secure inside its walls. Now her bubble of safety is about to burst. Can she save the home and school which once cocooned her when old fears overwhelm? Facing students at the start of a new term is frightening enough without nightmares resurfacing which terrify Fianna.

She may have a degree in teaching but will this skill help her?

The return of old friends sends Fianna spiraling down the rabbit hole of her past. Wolfe Manor may call her to be what she was born to be, but can she find out in time to save it from an evil only she can defeat? Or if she fails and Wolfe Manor falls, what happens when the evil faces humanity unchallenged?

One of the early reviews for Wolfe Manor

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, intricate supernatural story with elemental magic  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 March 2021

An atmospheric story demonstrating the writing talent of Adele Marie Park. If you enjoy supernatural coming of age stories with elemental magic, witches, family secrets, gateways, portals between worlds, nightmares and dark demons this is for you.

It is an intricate read with a fair few characters and quite a complicated back story, so be prepared to invest time and attention to the narrative. There are some wonderful passages to enthrall you. I particularly loved the sections with the animals: the wolf, mouse, stag, owl, and badger. I’m a sucker for animals in books!

The authors words really shine in this latest book. I particularly enjoyed the passages devoted to art. I believe the author also paints and this is evident in how detailed and real these are.

I particularly enjoyed the humour and flurries of brilliance in this novel, as you can see in these quotes:

“Hey. Demon,” he shouted, and the chaos stopped for a second. “Yes. You know me. I remember and so do you. Leave or I’ll do what I did years ago.”

“As memory infiltrated the adult personae her emotional shield dropped. It was as it had been when she was a child and Miss Appleton chased away the darkness.”
Highly recommended. 5 stars.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USFollow Adele: Goodreads – Website: Firefly WordPressTwitter: @Binky567

The next author is Harmony Kent with a recent review for her poetry collection Slices of Soul.

About Slices of Soul

Slices of Soul is a collection of contemporary poetry from author Harmony Kent that will both delight and call for deeper reflection. ‘Phantoms’ gives a gritty account of pain that you can never catch. ‘Enough’ expresses the contentment of Zen. ‘Diamonds’ shows the beauty to be found on a drab and rainy day. While ‘The Alchemist’ shows you how a guitar can turn lead into gold. This wonderful arrangement of fifty poems takes you from the abstract of Zen to the melody of music, and will reach into your mind, your heart, and your soul.

One of the recent reviews for Slices of Soul

Gwendolyn Plano 5.0 out of 5 stars An account of the Soul…  Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2021

I have a growing interest in poetry and play around with various poetic forms. When I came across Kent’s book, I was intrigued by the cover and the suggestion that the writer might focus on life’s mysteries. I purchased the book and didn’t stop reading it until I finished it. It is a beautiful account of soul-inspiration. Sometimes desperate, sometimes exalting, always raw and perfect. I loved the collection and highly recommend it.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Harmony:Goodreads – Website:Harmony KentTwitter: @Harmony_Kent 

The final author today with a recent review is Audrey Driscoll for Hunting of the Phoenix: (The Herbert West Series Book 4)

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About Hunting the Phoenix (The Herbert West Series Book 4)

Journalist Alma Halsey chases the story of a lifetime to Providence, Rhode Island and finds more than she expected – an old lover, Charles Milburn, and an old adversary, renegade physician Herbert West, living under the name Francis Dexter. Fire throws her into proximity with them both, rekindling romance and completing a great transformation.

More Details: Middle-aged and cynical, journalist Alma Halsey looks back on the missed chances in her life with bitterness and regret. Revisiting her home town of Arkham, she comes into possession of a letter that changes everything. So what if it’s not addressed to her, but to her old flame, librarian Charles Milburn? Suddenly she’s chasing down a big story, and maybe she’ll reconnect with Charles as well.

Giving up her New York City life, Alma moves to Providence, Rhode Island and begins tracking down another man from her past – one she’s assumed to be dead for more than 15 years – none other than renegade physician Herbert West. It seems he’s living in Providence under the name Francis Dexter, and is once more engaged in nefarious doings. Once she’s gathered enough information, Alma plans to write an expose.

Things get complicated when Alma discovers that Charles Milburn is also in Providence, working for “Dr. Dexter,” and English neurosurgeon Edward Clapham-Lee is also looking for Herbert West. Everything goes wrong when the house she is living in catches fire. Seriously injured and far from home, Alma is forced to accept the hospitality of the man she has made her quarry. In Dexter’s house she finds healing, strangeness and unexpected friendships, and realizes that her real quarry is herself.

Alone with Dexter for several days, Alma has occasion to revisit her relationship with him and discover the roots of her disaffection. Soon after Charles’s return from a business trip, the three repair to Cape Cod where they celebrate their renewed friendship, until the appearance of Edward Clapham-Lee – a man as amoral and dangerous as Dexter’s former self – demands a return to Arkham for a final reckoning.

A recent review for the Book

Mr. F. Parker 5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written mystery with hints of the supernatural  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 February 2021

I had not got very far into this book before I realised that I was reading something worthy of the highest praise I could possibly lavish upon it. A mere five stars would not be enough for this superbly written novel. A cynical and middle aged journalist is on the trail of a man who claims to be able to perform medical miracles. He must, she believes, be a fraud, preying on wealthy women in order to secure for himself their inheritance. She makes it her mission to prove this theory.

So far, so straight forward. It’s the twists and turns of plot and sub-plot that follow that make this book so hard to put down. That, and the sheer literary genius of the writing. From the description of a classical music concert and the effect of the music upon the listener, to beautifully realised erotic episodes, the writer demonstrates a mastery of her craft that makes me wonder why her books are not up there with the prize winners.

She also manages two first person narrators with distinctly different voices, some poetry (did I mention that the principle narrator is a professional writer?) and a number of letters that introduce further characters with well differentiated voices.

The book is set in New England in 1938 & ‘9 but covers the period between the twentieth century’s two world wars. This makes it, first and foremost, a piece of historical fiction and it succeeds on that level because the period is so well depicted. The preoccupations of middle class academics of the time are featured, though not in an overbearing manner. Some of these issues, like eugenics and fascism, should have been put to bed by the second of those wars yet they have resurfaced in the twenty first century. Perhaps they never fully went away.

But there is also an element of what I can only describe as magical realism, which reminds me of the best of Conan Doyle. The magic does not go as far as ‘His Dark Materials’, the Harry Potter books, or the comic book super-heroes so beloved of Hollywood. But it is enough to pique the interest of readers who like a mystery that hints at elements of the supernatural.

I was not aware until the end that this is the fourth in a series. There is enough back story included to ensure the book can be read without prior knowledge of the preceding three episodes. For anyone who has read those this will surely make a satisfying finale. But that is not all. We are introduced towards the end to a character who will, apparently, feature in another novel set in the time of the Cuban missile crisis. I can’t wait to read it.  

To discover all of Audrey’s books and read the reviews: :Amazon US – And:  Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website: Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

 

 

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

 

 

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


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

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

About the book

High Days and Holidays are special occasions, celebrations, or commemorations. They occur throughout the year, some wanted, some not, some remembered more than others. In days gone by, the passing year was marked by seasonal or religious feast days of one sort or another; in some respects, they still help define our calendar.

A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays explores a baker’s dozen of Britain’s notable occasions and traditions, from New Year onward, the things we associate with them and the stories behind each one. If you’ve ever wondered who Valentine was, where Christmas crackers come from, or thought about the Easter bunny (and who hasn’t?), A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays is for you. And, whilst this book is not just for Christmas, it does include an A-Z of the festive season. A couple of recipes have been thrown in for good measure too, as well as an agenda for your hosting your very own Burns’ Supper. Oh – and at the end is an extensive list of Britain’s Big Days and events that normally form part of Britain’s Year – through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

So, if you’ve ever been baffled as to why some Brits do some of the things they do, or have even questioned why you do them yourself, this little book might help. Occasionally lighthearted, fascinating and useful, once you’ve read it, keep it handy to refer to when needed.

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

Also by Mike Biles

A recent recent review for A Bit About Britain

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

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

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

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

 

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

Now for some recent reviews.

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

About the book

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

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

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

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

A selection of books by Lisette Brodey

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Lisette: Goodreads – Website/blog: Lisette Brodey – Twitter: @LisetteBrodey –  Facebook: Lisette.Brodey

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

About the book

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

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the collection

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

A recent review for the collection

Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the book

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

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

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

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

My review for the book October 27th 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also by Joyce Hampton

 

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

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Releases #Reviews #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates where I share new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves. If you are a new author and would like to be included in the cafe please check out the links in this post: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE author promotion.

The first author today has her latest book on pre-order at 1$/77p for September 25th Tales from the Annexe: seven stories from the Herbert West Series and seven other tales by Audrey Driscoll.

About the collection

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

Head over to pre-order for 1$ delivered September 25th: Amazon US – And for 77p: Amazon UK

One of the recent reviews for Islands of the Gulf Volume 1, The Journey (The Herbert West Series Book 2)

Vic Hess 5.0 out of 5 stars A Macabre Adventure worth reading  Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2020

A man of macabre background is described first through the eyes of his valet and then through the eyes of a widow who slowly grows fond of him despite the mysteries surrounding him. This is a well-written story, each paragraph either informing us or teasing us with questions, each paragraph conversational and through it all, you learn as much about the narrator as the subject of their discourse.

This is a well-planned story that has multiple plot points systematically delivering us from Europe, to Canada, to Boston, to New Orleans, to the Gulf of Mexico, and ultimately to the Strait of Juan de Fuca off of British Columbia. Ships and ports and mariners make the journey interesting to the reader, and, you are tempted to stay awake one more hour to get to the next chapter.

I gave this book five stars because of the quality of writing, the unique points of view which were expertly handled, and the unfolding story that kept me reading. Driscoll clearly works diligently on her writing and quite carefully on her editing. This is a very good book!

Audrey Driscoll, Buy:Amazon US – And:  Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website:Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

Now an early review for the latest release from Diana Wallace Peach and the first book in a new series. Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1

About the book

Behind the Veil, the hordes of Chaos gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

An early review for the book: Jacqui Murray August 29th 2020

D. Wallace Peach’s latest fantasy novel, Liars and Thieves (2020), Book 1 in her new fantasy series, Unraveling the Veil, is one of those stories you wish you could read again for the first time. The concept is simple–bad guys cause havoc and good guys must stop them. What makes it a story you won’t forget is how Peach reveals the characters, the plot, and the amazing world where they live:

“…they fed the Veil’s mass with heat harvested from the mountains’ core, from pristine forests and wildflower meadows, from creatures of hoof and wing. All withered, browned, and blackened. Then they stole the light from the dawn.”

“The Veil thinned and solidified, releasing the energetic mass that had fortified it against the storm.”

Her choice of words, always spot on, are never wasted:

“…the ambition of a well-fed cat on a sunny sill.”

“Then they stole the light from the dawn.”

“He sniffed the air. Scents of blue snow and dank earth mingled with something new—the electric tang of power.”

The stunning reality she has built includes an eclectric mix of elves, changelings, and goblins, some purebred and others mixed, and all the problems and challenges that go with different cultures intermingling. To stop chaotic events that could destroy the world, these folks find themselves working with old enemies, relying on those they previously distrusted, and discovering new alliances.

Though presented as a fantasy world, it will remind you of real-life. As you read, you will never really know what the truth is, when something you thought you knew turns out to be upside down. This made for an excitingly fresh tale like few I’ve ever read. The detail she includes is riveting and in large part why you will think this world could really exist. To give you an example, read Diana’s explanation of what happens to an individual’s bones, hair, organs, and muscles when switching from animal to human.

“The skeletal changes came first. He sank to his knees as his oblong skull crushed inward at the muzzle and bulged in the cranium. His neck compressed. Shoulder blades and ribcage shrank while hip bones expanded and rearranged their connections to fibulae and spine.”

As with every book Peach has written, her world building is believable, her characters likable, and her plot never stops surprising readers. Grab a copy, sit back, and enjoy.

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

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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

The final review is for Sharon Marchisello and her recently released new crime mystery novel Secrets of the Galapagos

About the book

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

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Lisa Malice 4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of the Galapagos a great read for fans of suspense!  Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2020

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.

Buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

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

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Humour Mae Clair, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Historical Apple Gidley


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for books on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Mae Clair for her mystery with a touch of humour… In Search of McDoogal

About the book

In search of something ugly…

All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.

With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?

Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.

McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Bookworm 92 5.0 out of 5 stars  The Things We Do for Love  Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2020

Anytime I see a new release by Mae Clair, I know it’s going to be a fantastic read. Having enjoyed both her Hodes Hill and Point Pleasant series, as well as, single titles such as Eclipse Lake, I immediately bought a copy of In Search of McDoogle.

While this story is far different from her usual genre, it didn’t disappoint.

Brady Conrad wants to impress his girlfriend. When he accidentally sells her beloved painting, he enlists the help of his friend, Declan, to help retrieve it.

What follows is a trip to a nearby town in search of the elusive “masterpiece”, a cast of quirky characters, a comedy of errors, and lots of laughs. A solid five stars for this one.

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

A selection of books by Mae Clair

Mae Clair, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on: Goodreads
Website: Mae Clair – Twitter: @MaeClair1

The next book with a recent review is Islands of the Gulf Volume 1, The Journey (The Herbert West Series Book 2) by Audrey Driscoll

About the book

Once, he was Herbert West, superlative surgeon and revivifier of the dead. Now he’s lost his reputation, his country and his name. Rebuilding his life as a country doctor on Bellefleur Island, he struggles with doubts, emotional entanglements and terrible memories of the Great War. Above all, he must forge a new relationship with his old adversary – death – and negotiate with a new one – love.

More Details: Boulogne, France, 1916. Wounded soldier Andre Boudreau awakes to find himself under the care of renegade physician Herbert West of Arkham, who is serving as a medical officer in the Great War. Having lost his memory and reluctant to return to a home and family he cannot remember, at the end of the War Andre gratefully accepts West’s offer of employment.

In Arkham, Andre works as chauffeur, valet and lab assistant, serving with unquestioning devotion the man he calls the Doctor. He remains loyal when West is forced to escape from Arkham by drastic means, changing his name to Francis Dexter. In the course of a bizarre journey across North America, Andre finds himself in charge of their travels as Dexter, his health and judgment impaired, grows increasingly unstable.

Arriving by tramp steamer on the West Coast, Andre is eager to begin a new life, despite his loyalty to the Doctor. A chance meeting brings them to Bellefleur Island, where Andre finds work as a lighthouse keeper. Hoping that the island may offer a chance for the Doctor to begin anew as Dr. Francis Dexter, Andre leaves him in the hands of Margaret Bellgarde.

Married young to ambitious lawyer Richard Bellgarde, Margaret is devastated when he volunteers for service in the Great War and is killed in action. Offered a home on Bellefleur Island by her father-in-law, Margaret gives birth to her son there and becomes absorbed into the island’s life.

With the arrival on Bellefleur of Dr. Francis Dexter, Margaret finds herself questioning him about his past and herself about her future. Showing him the beauties of her island home, sharing conversations and experiences, Margaret comes to find Dexter attractive as well as mysterious. Charming but evasive, Dexter builds a successful medical practice and spends summers exploring the coast with sailor and artist Julian Vernon.

When tragedy strikes, Margaret finds herself in a unique position to help Dexter, but first she must choose between the inclinations of her heart and the principles she has taken for granted all her life. Her choices have unfathomable consequences for her family and the island she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Vic Hess 5.0 out of 5 stars A Macabre Adventure worth reading  Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2020

A man of macabre background is described first through the eyes of his valet and then through the eyes of a widow who slowly grows fond of him despite the mysteries surrounding him. This is a well-written story, each paragraph either informing us or teasing us with questions, each paragraph conversational and through it all, you learn as much about the narrator as the subject of their discourse.

This is a well-planned story that has multiple plot points systematically delivering us from Europe, to Canada, to Boston, to New Orleans, to the Gulf of Mexico, and ultimately to the Strait of Juan de Fuca off of British Columbia. Ships and ports and mariners make the journey interesting to the reader, and, you are tempted to stay awake one more hour to get to the next chapter.

I gave this book five stars because of the quality of writing, the unique points of view which were expertly handled, and the unfolding story that kept me reading. Driscoll clearly works diligently on her writing and quite carefully on her editing. This is a very good book!

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

A selection of books by Audrey Driscoll

Audrey Driscoll, Buy:Amazon US – And:  Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website:Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

The final author today is Apple Gidley with a recent review for the historical novel Transfer

About the book

Transfer traces the lives of those on Anna’s Fancy, the Clausen estate on Saint Croix in the Danish West Indies, handed down through three generations. An historical novel and the sequel to Fireburn (OC Publishing 2017), Transfer sees Niels Clausen, the illegitimate child of a Danish landowner and his black mistress who both died as a result of the 1878 worker revolt, leave his adoptive mother’s sugar plantation and sail to England to continue his education.

With the help of Toby, a British aristocrat, Ivy, a lady’s maid turned lady and her botanist husband, Timothy, Niels challenges the perceptions on the streets of London of a black man at the turn of the 20th century. His development as a writer and political protagonist continues as he travels to Denmark and France where he meets up with childhood friends, Javier and Fabiana Gomez, before returning to Saint Croix.

The Danish West Indies face an uncertain future as the declining sugar industry lessens Denmark’s interest in their colonial outpost. Niels becomes increasingly involved in the future of the islands as war looms and concerns grow that Germany might covet a presence in the Caribbean. Will the islands’ security be guaranteed by the transfer of power to America?

The highs and lows of Niels’ life are punctuated by the crossing of oceans and cultures as well as the political manoeuvrings of a turbulent time in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D Briscoe 5.0 out of 5 stars Love the history!  Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2020

Loved the book! This was the story of a special group of people – a continuation of the first book, Fireburn. Transfer follows the families/friends through the years following the Emancipation of slaves (Fireburn) to the takeover of St. Croix and the other Virgin Islands by the United States. Ms. Gidley brought the people to life and highlighted the issues of the time. Excellent story!

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

Books by Apple Gidley

Apple Gidley, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Apple: Goodreads –  Blog:Apple Gidley WordPress – Twitter: @ExpatApple

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – #Romance Jacquie Biggar, #Mystery Mae Clair, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is USA Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar with a review for Sunset Beach (Blue Haven Book 2)

About the book

An explosive secret threatens the peace and tranquility of Sweetheart Cove

Single father Trace Michaels hands are full coping with a rebellious teenage daughter, troublesome ex-wife, and campaigning for the mayor’s election. He doesn’t have time to get distracted by an old flame from his past– one he’s never forgotten.

When an unknown source leaks surprising news that could damage his career, Trace turns to the one person he trusts for the truth.

Single mother Mona Samuels knows how difficult it can be to raise a daughter. She empathizes with Trace, but when he comes to her for advice she’s conflicted. They say the truth will set you free, but unburying the past could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mae Clair  5.0 out of 5 stars  A Charmer!  Reviewed in the United States on April 17, 2020

Trace and Mona are both single parents with teenage daughters and history that goes back to their dating years in high school. Trace made the mistake of cheating on Mona with Sally, now his ex-wife. In a small town, paths cross and gossip flies. When Mona decides to run for Mayor against Trace, life becomes even more complicated, especially as these two struggle to navigate underlying feelings for each other.

This is a sweet romance with engaging characters set in a charming town. Of special mention, Trace and Mona’s daughters, Bailey and Amber, provide a secondary plot line that shines every bit as brightly as the first. The ending is superb, providing the perfect HEA you’d expect from a story like this. A winner all the way around!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie : Goodreads

Connect to Jacquie via her website: Jacquie Biggar

The next author is Mae Clair for her recently released mystery with a touch of humour… In Search of McDoogal

About the book

In search of something ugly…

All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.

With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?

Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.

McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Mae Clair’s In search of McDoogal (2020) is fun, quick paced, and clever. It’s not long so I barely started before I felt like it ended too soon. Brady Conrad thinks he has something special with his girlfriend of six weeks, Vanessa, like she could be The One. So he offers to help her out during an emergency, run a sale at her art gallery while she’s taking care of personal business. It all goes well–he does end up selling a lot–but also sells a painting she wanted to keep. How hard can it be to get it back? Brady knows the man’s first name, where he lives, and that his van is bright orange (who else drives an orange van?). He’s about to find out even with that treasure trove of information, it can be nearly impossible.

I’ve read lots of Mae’s prior books and always loved them for their careful plotting and well-developed characters. Despite this one’s brevity, she again does a good job of developing her story with snappy dialogue, a mix of love and action, and a believable plot (I mean, anyone could make the mistake that landed Brandon in hot water). This is an entirely entertaining story I recommend to those who have experience with something so simple going so wrong.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And:Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mae: Goodreads

Connect to Mae via her Blog/Website: Mae Clair

The final author is Audrey Driscoll with a recent review for her action adventure, She Who Comes Forth

About the book

October 1962. The developing nuclear missile crisis in Cuba is of no concern to Francesca “France” Leighton. Recently turned 21, France travels from her home in Providence to a job at an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. She takes with her two legacies—an emerald ring from the grandfather she never knew, and an antique cello from his friend, a man she loved like a grandfather.

The dig disappoints. France is relegated to sorting chunks of stone, the dig’s director makes unwanted advances; rivalries and mistrust are everywhere. And it’s too darn hot. Tasked with playing her cello at a gathering of archaeologists, France meets the enigmatic and fascinating nuclear physicist Adam Dexter. She’s smitten, especially when he promises to show her the secrets of Egypt, including a hitherto undiscovered tomb.

One of the recent reviews for the book

benjamin l haskett 5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, great cast, and a great, subtle plot in the background.  Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2020
She Who Comes Forth was a fantastic read. The story it told was engaging, but even more impressive was its delivery. The book is narrated in first-person by main character France Leighton, a young woman tasked with sorting rocks at an archaeological dig site in Egypt. France is a wonderful storyteller. I felt like she spoke to me directly; like she was recalling her time in Egypt to me from a comfy chair in front of a fireplace. Her tale is frontloaded with natural digressions about family and her apprehension for various tasks that she is ill-suited to carry out. She is honest and personal and warm, unashamed about her fears and self-doubt.

The backdrop here is that in the 1960s, France accepts a gig in Egypt to work at an archaeological dig site. She admits to the reader that she has zero applicable experience, and… it’s revealed early on that the man who hired her may have done so for, well, dubious reasons. (One detail I do not recall is whether she had any experience/education that was even tangentially applicable.)

When she arrives at the dig house and it’s revealed that she doesn’t really belong, the people in charge empathize with the long journey she’s taken from the Providence, Rhode Island, and go out of their way to find a place for her. Sorting rocks is kind of a bummer job, but she makes the best of it with good cheer and an upbeat attitude (mostly). Once she settles into her minor role, she’s asked to play her cello (alongside a violinist and violist) at an investors’ event, and it’s clear even then that the music gig is more about the people in charge finding a suitable place for her than anything else.

(In case you were wondering: yes, it is in fact weird that she packed up and brought her cello to Egypt. But there is a good reason for it!)

The whole book is an exercise in subtlety. I mean, honestly, when you consider that the first third of the book centers around France preparing for a semi-formal event where she’s going to play some Beethoven, it’s remarkable that the author is able to make everything so engaging. Thanks to a colorful cast of characters and France’s narration, the book thrives on these mild story beats.

The ending takes some unexpected but satisfying turns. There are a lot of supernatural elements at play here, also subtle, which seem so out of place (in a good way!) sometimes that they’re genuinely creepy when they occur. I’m sorely tempted to lay out some examples, but I don’t want to spoil anything — read it!

Most books have a slump in the pacing somewhere, and this book is no exception, but the slump here is brief. The majority of the book is so crystal clear about what’s going on that chapters 10 and 11 kinda dragged. They were fuzzy and unclear, like someone recalling an alien abduction while under regressive hypnotherapy. Not bad by any stretch, but I was glad to make it to chapter 12.

I recommend this book to just about anyone. Whether you’re into Egypt, the supernatural, music, the 1960s, or conversations with inanimate objects (*wink*), you’ll have an excellent time. Great characters, great cast, and a great, subtle plot in the background.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other  books by Audrey Driscoll

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Audrey on: Goodreads

Connect to Audrey  via her website: Audrey Driscoll

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Shortstories Anne Goodwin


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

The first author today is Mark Bierman has been receiving terrific reviews for his debut novel Vanished.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Non stop action  Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2020

This story kicks off the action on page one and doesn’t let up. In fact, when I was about ¾ of the way through, I needed to sit back, take a deep breath, and work the tension out of my shoulders. Bierman’s ability to write non-stop, intense, dangerous action is noteworthy. And though in many ways, I’d characterize the story as plot-driven, there’s some deep emotion when it’s called for.

And the story isn’t a picnic. Though the author maintains that it’s fictional, he also states that it centers on a very real and tragic situation – child slavery. Tyler and John are two likable Americans who team up with an anti-hero in Haiti. The story follows their attempt to rescue a Haitian’s young child from a mine worked by kidnapped children. The difficulty of this plan is skillfully complicated by cultural barriers, corruption, poverty, and, of course, the ruthless adults who treat children like disposable tools – use them until they break and then throw them away.

Even though the book is plot-driven, I felt connected to Tyler and John. It was hard not to feel for them and root for them when things weren’t going well (which was the whole book). In a way, they are ordinary men who, as things got worse and worse, had to keep remaking decisions about what they’re willing to sacrifice, including their lives. They give it their all and it was very heroic. I’d read more about the characters and will read more of this author. Recommended for anyone who loves an intense action-packed adventure/thriller.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mark: Goodreads

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Amazon US Author Page: Amazon US
Amazon UK : Amazon UK

Connect to Mark via his blog: Mark Bierman WordPress

The next featured author is Audrey Driscoll for her action adventure, She Who Comes Forth

About the book

October 1962. The developing nuclear missile crisis in Cuba is of no concern to Francesca “France” Leighton. Recently turned 21, France travels from her home in Providence to a job at an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. She takes with her two legacies—an emerald ring from the grandfather she never knew, and an antique cello from his friend, a man she loved like a grandfather.

The dig disappoints. France is relegated to sorting chunks of stone, the dig’s director makes unwanted advances; rivalries and mistrust are everywhere. And it’s too darn hot. Tasked with playing her cello at a gathering of archaeologists, France meets the enigmatic and fascinating nuclear physicist Adam Dexter. She’s smitten, especially when he promises to show her the secrets of Egypt, including a hitherto undiscovered tomb.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Susan 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Setting  Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2020

What an amazing journey from cover to cover. France Leighton takes advantage of a once in a lifetime job offer by accepting a position at an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. Her high expectations are quickly dashed when due to her lack of experience she is relegated to menial labor – sorting stones in the oppressive heat. With her beloved cello named Eudora, she searches for adventure and romance. She’s young and sometimes reckless but full of daring while attempting to solve various mysteries surrounding the myths and legends of the area.

Well-written with richly detailed descriptions, I enjoyed France’s story and felt her joys and sorrows as she tried to connect with those around her. It was difficult to figure out who she could trust. Set in the early 1960’s using the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War as a backdrop, the story flows well and is highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other  books by Audrey Driscoll

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Audrey on: Goodreads

Connect to Audrey  via her website: Audrey Driscoll

And the final book today with a recent review is for the short story collection Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin.

About the book.

An administrator is forced into early retirement; a busy doctor needs a break. A girl discovers her sexuality; an older man explores a new direction for his. An estate agent seeks adventure beyond marriage; a photojournalist retreats from an overwhelming world. A woman reduces her carbon footprint; a woman embarks on a transatlantic affair. A widow refuses to let her past trauma become public property; another marks her husband’s passing in style.

Thought-provoking, playful and poignant, these 42 short stories address identity from different angles, examining the characters’ sense of self at various points in their lives. What does it mean to be a partner, parent, child, sibling, friend? How important is work, culture, race, religion, nationality, class? Does our body, sexuality, gender or age determine who we are?

Is identity a given or can we choose the someone we become?

One of the recent reviews for the collection

This book of a collection of over 40 short stories, which was unlike most books I am used to reading. I don’t know how the author did it, but the book drew my mind and attention to the character’s identity. Not in a ‘’like -or-don’t -like’’ manner but rather in an analytical sort of way. Each story is different and presents a diverse group of personalities. The stories are about real people with real problems who caught the attention of a writer, bringing their life and struggles into the forefront for the reader to ponder. I would gladly recommend this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Also by Anne Goodwin

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on : Amazon US

Find more reviews and follow Anne on: Goodreads

Connect to Anne via her blog: Annecdotal

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

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair -#Romance Linda Bradley, #FamilyDrama Mary Crowley, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Memoir Brigid P. Gallagher


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first book today which would make romance lovers very happy is Maggie’s Montana which is the third book in the Montana Bound Series by Linda Bradley.

About the book

Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life. With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes, will Maggie have the heart to say goodbye?

One of the recent reviews for the book and series on Goodreads

Sep 03, 2019 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
A Second Chance at Life

A trip to Montana with Judy, Harry and Walter turns into the adventure of a lifetime. Chole and John are settled in at the ranch and there’s so much to enjoy. Winston lets Maggie know that she has a place in their life if she’ll take the chance. Will Maggie find the strength and courage to move forward towards a new home and relationship? Recommend Series.

Also by Linda Bradley

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Linda on : Goodreads

Connect to Linda via her website: Linda Bradley Author

The next author is Mary Crowley who has two books set in Ireland that would make wonderful gifts..Her first novel A Sweet Smell of Strawberries has a recent review..

About the book

Imagine, a warm summer’s morning with the Sweet Smell of Strawberries wafting through the air, tantalising your senses….

For Sarah Connolly, this invokes beautiful memories of her son Jack. A talented athlete destined to represent Ireland in the Olympics and loved by everyone who knew him. While out training early one morning, the sixteen-year-old was killed when Desmond Shanahan lost control of his car. Jack’s death crushing Sarah, as her only child, he was the very essence of her life.

Losing a child in tragic circumstances, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, a sense of unjust…..

Now, five years after the tragedy, Desmond’s early release from prison leaves Sarah feeling let down by the justice system and she makes sure he knows this. Even if it means losing friends in her quest to remind the close community of Kilmer Cove, of Desmond’s guilt. What Sarah fails to realise is nothing will bring back her son.

However, Sarah is not alone in her angst over Desmond’s release, and a web of lies soon becomes untangled over the events which lead to Jack Connolly’s death.

Can Sarah find it in her heart to forgive Desmond?

A Sweet Smell of Strawberries takes in a beautiful Irish setting along the coastline of Donegal and The Wild Altlantic way. A story of love, heartache and retribution which makes you realise no one is perfect!

One of the recent reviews on Goodreads

Oct 21, 2019 Eleanor Murphy rated it it was amazing

Great Read, I loved this book. It is a story of love and loss with twists to keep you intrigued throughout, immediately pulling you in to the characters who are very relatable and believable. I could imagine sitting in the Cove listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shoreline. I’ve never been to Donegal but I definately plan to visit after reading this book.

Also by Mary Crowley

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on : Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Mary on: Goodreads

Connect to Mary via her blog: Mary Crowley WordPress

Now time for some action and adventure courtesy of Audrey Driscoll with a recent review for  Book 4 of the Herbert West Series – Hunting the PhoenixI am sure the complete series would make a great gift for anyone.

About the book

Journalist Alma Halsey chases the story of a lifetime to Providence, Rhode Island and finds more than she expected – an old lover, Charles Milburn, and an old adversary, renegade physician Herbert West, living under the name Francis Dexter. Fire throws her into proximity with them both, rekindling romance and completing a great transformation.

More Details: Middle-aged and cynical, journalist Alma Halsey looks back on the missed chances in her life with bitterness and regret. Revisiting her home town of Arkham, she comes into possession of a letter that changes everything. So what if it’s not addressed to her, but to her old flame, librarian Charles Milburn? Suddenly she’s chasing down a big story, and maybe she’ll reconnect with Charles as well.

Giving up her New York City life, Alma moves to Providence, Rhode Island and begins tracking down another man from her past – one she’s assumed to be dead for more than 15 years – none other than renegade physician Herbert West. It seems he’s living in Providence under the name Francis Dexter, and is once more engaged in nefarious doings. Once she’s gathered enough information, Alma plans to write an expose.

Things get complicated when Alma discovers that Charles Milburn is also in Providence, working for “Dr. Dexter,” and English neurosurgeon Edward Clapham-Lee is also looking for Herbert West. Everything goes wrong when the house she is living in catches fire. Seriously injured and far from home, Alma is forced to accept the hospitality of the man she has made her quarry. In Dexter’s house she finds healing, strangeness and unexpected friendships, and realizes that her real quarry is herself.

Alone with Dexter for several days, Alma has occasion to revisit her relationship with him and discover the roots of her disaffection. Soon after Charles’s return from a business trip, the three repair to Cape Cod where they celebrate their renewed friendship, until the appearance of Edward Clapham-Lee – a man as amoral and dangerous as Dexter’s former self – demands a return to Arkham for a final reckoning.

One of the recent reviews for Hunting the Phoenix.

So speaks Charles Milburn near the end, when he and Alma are contemplating writing the story of Herbert West/Francis Dexter. I can’t argue with that sentiment!

Reading this book is definitely a powerful experience. However, I think I would have enjoyed it even more and comprehended it better if I were more knowledgeable about alchemy. It’s never been a subject that interested me; I’ve always viewed it (when I thought about it at all) as a primitive footnote to the history of “real” science. But I can concede that alchemy makes an excellent “crucible” for a paranormal plot. After all, all SF writers employ futuristic fictional science in order to move their plots along; why not utilize archaic fictional science?

A noteworthy aspect of this book is the author’s skill in evocative description. She really knows how to set a scene and create a mood; furthermore characters appear, take shape, and are molded in front of your very eyes. Here are only a few examples:

From the Prologue section: “Last night I dreamed again of Provincetown in the summer of 1939, seven years ago. A silver pink sunrise off the Cape in August. The taste of peach juice on his lips, his arms holding me as he dances us out of the world. The legacies of one who was born of fire and has returned to it.”

“My thoughts dissolved into a whirl of light, colour, and sound – the strange dissonances and harmonies of the two instruments, the copper-haired child with her birdlike song, the candlelit procession from darkness to light, the Christmas tree with its suns, moons, roses and dark orbs. And in the center of it all, our enigmatic host …”

And when Alma first starts to write poetry: “I sat in my quiet, rose-scented study, scribbling in fits and starts, stalking ripples of my own emotions as the hunter stalks his prey, fishing for feelings and catching them in a net of words.” On that subject, this book contains some remarkable poetry; the author displays a fine comprehension of that literary form.

Dreams and hallucinations also play a mesmerizing role in “Hunting the Phoenix,” and the author skillfully uses flashback techniques to relate earlier events. Most loose ends from the three earlier volumes are tied up, although there are still a few things I wonder about, especially what became of the John Hocks demon, who appears near the end of v.1
I strongly recommend this book and the three previous volumes in the series, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, She Who Comes Forth.

A selection of other  books by Audrey Driscoll

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

 Amazon Canada

 Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Audrey on: Goodreads

Connect to Audrey  via her website: Audrey Driscoll

And finally today the memoir by  Brigid P. Gallagher that shares her experiences and also strategies to overcome chronic illness in Watching for the Daisies.

About the book

Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.

In this memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:

  • The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease
  • Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms
  • Entering a new life of SLOW

Drawing on her knowledge and experience as a Natural Medicines therapist, she seeks out therapies to aid her healing and integrates a variety of self help techniques and lifestyle changes. She also unearths a love of solo travel including Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Bali…

Brigid learns many insights about LIFE on her journey, the most valuable being: “First learn to love thyself.”

In 2006, she began a new career in Organic Horticulture eventually teaching part time in schools. Although she has now retired from teaching, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening and watching the daisies.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A fascinating read through all the naturopathic and alternative remedies Brigid has been involved in. Clearly a very active and intelligent person, she applied herself to learning, teaching and living the naturopathic principals. Many people will owe much to her knowledge and generosity in sharing her gifts.

Her own health problems dictated a new path and a need to slow down and take care of herself. Her new pace of life has resulted in this book on life lessons and the importance of slow. We are the happy beneficiaries. Thank you for your insights Brigid!

Read the rest of the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

and at:  Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Brigid on : Goodreads

Connect to Brigid via her blog: Watching the Daisies

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