Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – with host Sally Cronin – December 4th 2020 with guest Ann Patras

Welcome to the laughter lines extra and I hope what follows will help to get your weekend started.

First a few funnies from me..

We have just come out of lockdown and hairdressers seem to be the hot spots….and they will have their work cut out for them to repair the damage

Funny People's hair After lockdown - Funny Memes, Real ...

Accents Salon - 83 Photos - Day Spas - 920 Eastern Shore ...

And no weekend would be complete without our pets…

24 Funny Dog Memes That'll Capture Your Heart ...

And a special guest today with some rules for Christmas Nativity is Ann Patras

Ann Patras, Buy: Amazon UK –  And:Amazon US – Follow Ann:  Goodreads – Website: Ann Patras Author – Facebook: Ann Patras Author



Thanks for dropping in today and thanks to Ann for joining me and I hope you have a great weekend. Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Africa Ann Patras, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

Welcome to the start of the Christmas Book Fair posts. With over 150 authors in the Cafe I need to start now to make sure that I include everyone on shelves.

I am going to be choosing authors at random so that there is a variety of genres in each post to offer as many gift ideas as possible.

The first author is Ann Patras who shares the story of her family’s life in Africa over three memoirs.. Today the third book in the series, Much More Into Africa, which would make a wonderful gift for adventurous members of the family.

About the book

It is four years since Ann and Ziggy moved with their young family from England to Zambia’s Copperbelt. During this time, their new life experiences and crazy antics were the subject of multitudes of letters to their incredulous family and friends.

Will they continue with their daft escapades now, as they change location to the country’s capital city?

This is where you find out, as the Patras family gets Much More Into Africa.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lindylou 5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 September 2020

Here we have the third instalment of Ann. Ziggy and the children’s lives in Africa and like the previous books it does not disappoint. More fun, laughter and adventures, forays into the unknown, giant spiders in the bathroom. As with the previous books this one includes letters written home to the family accompanied by pictures and Ann’s own drawings which are divine.

Ann loves Africa and its people, this all comes through in her unique style of writing which is an easy, relaxed style but always that underlying hint of humour is never far away.

Four years after moving to Kitwe there are big changes in the Patras’ life, Ziggy has changed job and they have now moved to Lusaka. Life soon settles down for the children busy with their school life and her husband with his work, Ann wonders what is there for her. Having left her friends behind she was at a bit of a loss…let’s face it with a houseboy there was little to do around the house.

Ann soon becomes involved with the Lusaka Gymkhana Club and here more fun ensues for the family and her stories of her and the children’s riding adventures were a joy to read about. She recounts their adventures of safaris which had me in awe of the animals, white water rafting experience (more Ziggy’s idea of fun than Ann’s but she enters into the spirit of it) this had me holding onto my seat whilst they were tossed around.

The family spend more time in the UK and it is a pleasure to read more of life for them there. There are also sad times for Ann in the UK and I cried along with her.

There is yet another job change for Ziggy, feeling that Zambia has no more to offer him along comes a change of location so I look forward to more of their adventures in South Africa.

Once again you are drawn into the stories and feel as if you are there experiencing it all with them, it is a totally delightful book to read and I have loved them all so far.
Thank you Ann for a thrilling and exciting read

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

The other books in the series

Ann Patras, Buy: Amazon UK –  And:Amazon US – Follow Ann:  Goodreads – Website: Ann Patras Author – Facebook: Ann Patras Author

Now something for fantasy lovers from Lorinda J. Taylor with  The Blessing of Krozem: A Tale of Ziraf’s World

About the book

What would it really be like to be immortal? And how important is the power of friendship and the need for communion with one’s fellow humans? On Ziraf’s World, a planet in a universe far away from ours, an old priest named Gilzara decides to ask the Dreamers for the gift of immortality, and Krozem the Creator of Humankind grants his request, including giving him the power to make others immortal. However, things go tragically wrong; Gilzara’s dying wife refuses the gift, and Gilzara is left to live his immortal life alone.

The Troil, incorporeal spirit beings who also inhabit this world, take it upon themselves to save Gilzara from destroying the token that holds the key to his immortality, but he continues to see himself as a freak and an outcast, unable to relate to any mortal. The Troil teach him the power of venwara – wizardry – and thus fortified, he returns to the human world, desperately searching for a connection. He finds it in Halrab, a young novice priest, and together they set out to climb the Starbell, the highest mountain in Ziraf’s World, the symbol of an unattainable goal.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Sep 06, 2020 Audrey Driscoll rated it Four Stars really liked it Recommends it for: Readers who appreciate literary fantasy.

Lorinda J. Taylor’s stated goal is “to write compelling fiction that delivers an emotional impact and leaves her readers with something to think about at the end of each story.” She has certainly done that with The Blessing of Krozem.

Who wouldn’t want to become immortal? Especially in a body that remains forever in a state of health and fitness. That is the gift bestowed on the priest Gilzara, one of the central characters of this book. It comes with the power—indeed, the obligation— to make others immortal as well, and with the expectation that the power is used wisely. But the gift coincides with a great loss for Gilzara, because his wife, Javon, refuses it and dies.

The creators of the world in which the story takes place gave humans free will, but also trick and test them. Because of this, the gift of immortality becomes a curse for Gilzara, a great responsibility to which he believes himself unequal. And as the only immortal human in the world, he is desperately lonely.

The other main character of the book is Halrab, a young apprentice priest whom Gilzara meets decades later, after much sorrowful wandering. Halrab is practical and optimistic, while Gilzara is a tortured soul. The establishment of friendship between the two takes many twists and turns, and constitutes the greater part of the story. Halrab is a sympathetic character. I could identify with him as he solved problems, made choices, and dealt with Gilzara’s many anxieties.

The setting for this story is Ziraf’s World, described in the author’s Afterword as “a fantasy creation in a galaxy far, far away from our own planet.” The world is sort of like Earth, but also quite different. The sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Blue is the planet’s dominant colour. The mountains and even the moon are blue. So is the race of humans to which Gilzara and Halrab belong, although there are rumors of other human races in distant lands. Indeed, this world is full of colours—stars in shades of green, red, purple, and yellow, trees whose blue flowers open by moonlight, and a wealth of other plants and animals, each with distinctive names and characteristics. It’s a mountainous region, and the highest mountain has the captivating name of Starbell. I loved this aspect of the book.

Another group of characters are the Troil, mostly incorporeal spirits attached to winds, waters, caves, and other natural features. Several of them play key roles in advancing the plot. They are rather charming individuals, whose appearance and ways of expressing themselves add an element of lightness.

As with Taylor’s other books, this one includes a constructed language (conlang). I discerned some of its conventions as I read, and there is a glossary at the end. It reinforced the impression of an alien world complete in itself.

For me, the first two-thirds of the story read like a legend set in China, with its communities of priests, mountain and forest shrines, and mentions of distant and powerful deities. I envisioned the plot as though painted on silk scrolls. In the final four chapters, there is a greater degree of tension and immediacy. Crucial revelations are made, and Gilzara either succeeds or fails (I’m not saying which!) in using the blessing with which he is burdened. I could not imagine, when I started reading, what the outcome might be. The ending was satisfying but the story did give me a lot to think about, as its author intended.

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

A selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor.

All Lorinda’s books about extraterrestrial intelligent termites, starting with The Termite Queen, pictured, are only 99c on Amazon and Smashwords, through November.

Lorinda J. Taylor buy books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Lorinda on : Goodreads  –  Blog: Termite Writer Blog Spot – Twitter: @TermiteWriter

The final the perfect gift for poetry lovers-  a collection  by Bette A. Stevens that celebrates the beauty the state of Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Lisa Kradjian 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful collection… Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020

Organized by the four seasons, this lovely collection explores the landscape and communal spirit of Maine, through the year, the holidays, the blooms, the change in terrain. It is like a stroll through the town and woods and waters — a visual feast, with gentle and vivid language. Some favorites include:

Wide-eyed spectators
Shake their heads in wonder to
A spring concerto

From the Master’s hand
Lily of the Valley sings

Radiant leaves—now
Memories in our scrapbooks
Seasons travel on

I recommend “My Maine” highly.

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

Books by Bette A. Stevens


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


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to give as gifts this Christmas.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Historical Apple Gidley, #Fantasy Jack Eason, #Africa Ann Patras

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

The first author with a recent review is for Fireburn by Apple Gidley who recently joined the cafe with her books.

About the book

The Danish-owned island of 1870s Saint Croix vibrates with passion and tension as Anna Clausen, a young Anglo-Danish woman, returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. Her heart sinks at what she finds on arrival. Her father is ailing and desolate and her beloved plantation, Anna’s Fancy, which has been in the Clausen family for three generations, is in shambles.

The unwelcome lust of one man and forbidden love for another makes Anna’s return to Saint Croix even more turbulent. Despite the decline in the sugar industry she is determined to retain Anna’s Fancy but must first win the trust of her field workers, of Sampson the foreman, and the grudging respect of Emiline the cook and local weed woman.

Fireburn tells of the horrors of a little-known, bloody period of Caribbean history. Anna weathers personal heartache as she challenges the conventions of the day, the hostility of the predominantly male landowners and survives the worker rebellion of 1878, 30 years after Emancipation.

Rich in description, Fireburn is a well-researched novel that shines a light on a historic period in Saint Croix that has received little attention in literature until now. Gillian Royes, The Goat Woman of Largo Bay

One of the recent reviews for Fireburn

David S. Williams –5.0 out of 5 stars Blend of cultures and customs was adequately written.  Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2020

Great historical novel blending the local lingo and people with European settlers. Book was fair and objective. Good research on historical sites in St Croix and England.

Never got an explanation why the principal language in the Danish West Indies was English even though the Danes owned them for over 100 years before selling them to the U.S.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Apple Gidley

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Apple: Goodreads

Connect to Apple via her blog: Apple Gidley WordPress

And now for a recent review for Jack Eason, whose latest release is going well – The Magisters: Book One.

About the book

The Magisters is a science fiction story with a difference. Apart from chronicling the ultimate change of life for a select few individuals, it questions all accepted ideas by closeminded academics that leave no room for alternative thinking by some among their number. It is also about a woman born ten years after the Romans left Britannia forever and a man born in the twentieth century. Add to that everything that is currently environmentally wrong with our planet today, and you have all the necessary ingredients for an enthralling tale. Now read on…

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2020

Jack Eason writes about a group of people with highest spiritual intelligence and a unique sense of justice. The Magisters are magically talented people; their founder and leader, ‘Utu’ has grouped to open the scientists and politicians their eyes about the status of the Earth.

James, a man of unique gift, is one of the youngest members of the Magisters. He meets Alina, who he falls in love with almost instantly. Jack Eason masterfully combines Science fiction with Magic, old with new, antique with fashionable and war with politics.

The result is a thrilling first part of what hopefull becomes a series.

When reading a book, I normall pick my favorite character(s). In this book it’s Alina. Her mild nature in combination with her huge knowledge of the old times and her natural behavior around her secrets, make her a wonderfully warm character with an exciting maternal instinct.

Utu and James are nice enough, wise and skillful, but also they both hold an arrogance I cannot get 100% warm to. I understand that’s the way these characters are created and nothing is further from me to critisize the author’s ability to develop his characters. He does a great job. Nevertheless both, Utu and James are carrying characters and enormously important for the story. And then there is Gwendolen – but read for yourself!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Follow Jack and read other reviews: Goodreads

Connect to Jack via his blog: Have We Had Help

The next author Ann Patras is also a recent edition to the cafe with her books.. The latest book in the series Much More Into Africa is enjoying great reviews.

About the book

It is four years since Ann and Ziggy moved with their young family from England to Zambia’s Copperbelt. During this time, their new life experiences and crazy antics were the subject of multitudes of letters to their incredulous family and friends.

Will they continue with their daft escapades now, as they change location to the country’s capital city?

This is where you find out, as the Patras family gets Much More Into Africa.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Julie Haigh 5.0 out of 5 stars Another lovely, warm, winning read. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2020

This is the third in Ann Patras’ series of memoirs about life in Africa. I’ve enjoyed them all, and this one is so varied; it really is Ann’s best book so far.

Packed with information; she really gives a flavour of what it was like to live in Africa in the 80s. As well as the lighter, fun stuff, she also perfectly portrays feelings and emotions through harder times. I love her voice coming through the writing. The chatty, conversational style is fun, amusing and entertaining.

What a great idea-having a Chapter 0-Good info to recap, catch up, and remind, or to fill you in if you’ve not read the others. The glossary is also very useful-and handy having it at the beginning of the book.

Ann kept all her letters and wrote her memoirs from these. I really like this sort of format. Letters are included in the book-and pictures, and Ann’s own drawings-I love all these. This instalment starts in August 1984. After four years in Kitwe, Ziggy’s change of job contract means they will be moving to Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city.

I love her down-to-earth style. It’s easy reading, engaging, warm and friendly, and lovely to be back in Ann’s series. It’s been a while to wait since the last one-and I’d forgotten how good Ann’s books are! Another lovely, warm, winning read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

The other books in the series

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Ann on: Goodreads

Connect to Ann via her website: Ann Patras Author

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