Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews #YAFantasy M.J. Mallon, #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Poetry Joyce Murphy #Childrens Bette A. Stevens


Welcome to the first of the updates for the week, with recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author is Marjorie Mallon with The Curse of Time : Book One – Bloodstone a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Apr 10, 2020 Darlene Foster rated it Four Stars

For someone who doesn’t usually read fantasy, this YA novel caught my interest. The teenage characters in the book are very real with typical issues such as lack of confidence, jealousy, confusion, parental disagreements, and volatile friendships. Amelina comes from a dysfunctional family with a paranormal twist. If she can figure out the curse, perhaps her family could be happy once more. In her quest, she meets a self-harming girl locked in a mirror, a heartthrob boy with a mean side, a cottage full of amazing crystals and an old woman with sage advice.

I like that the story is based on a real clock, the Corpus Chronophage clock, in Cambridge, England. (Chronophage means time-eater). There is some time travel in the story, which I love. There’s a lot happening in this very descriptive book and not everything is explained. But that is because it is the first book in a series. I look forward to reading more about Amelina and her quirky friends.

Read the reviews and buy the book:Amazon US

And:Amazon UK

Also by M. J. Mallon

Read the other reviews and buy the book:Amazon UK

And on : Amazon US

Follow M.J. Mallon on: Goodreads

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website: M.J. Mallon

The next author with a recent review is James J. Cudney for his latest release Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 6)

About the Book

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead and a second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother?

Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future.

Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

One of the recent reviews for the book

L. Higgins 5.0 out of 5 stars  Perfect Title  Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2020

Both clues and motives for murder abound in Frozen Stiff Drink, the latest addition to James J. Cudney’s Braxton Campus Mystery Series. With each book, I think the plot threads can’t get more tangled than in the previous books, but they do! With a cast of characters that will intrigue you, draw you in, and evoke strong reactions, this cozy mystery will provide you with all the distraction you need during this time of shelter in place.

Kellan has a history of finding dead bodies since he returned to Wharton County; but his girlfriend, Sheriff April Montague, has finally begun to accept that he doesn’t go looking for trouble. With the series’ usual large number of characters, this book holds a challenge when trying to sort through the many relationships, but the author helps out with a list of characters including their connections to other characters.

I enjoyed Frozen Stiff Drink all the way to the conclusion where my jaw dropped as the many plot threads were resolved, and several new issues dramatically appeared beckoning me into delightful anticipation of the next installment in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book:Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow James: Goodreads

Connect to James via his blog: This is my Truth Now

Now Joyce Murphy with a review for her debut poetry collection Inner Rumblings: Poems to Give My Inner Self a Voice, the Self I Call Joycie Reilly

About the collection

Inner Rumblings is a collection of poems about life, about courage, and about emotion. Whether you are looking for the courage to keep going when your heart is breaking, the inspiration to follow your dreams or a feeling of ‘someone else has been here too,’ these poems offer an open invitation to share joys, struggles, loves and pain with you.

The poems are expressed through Joycie Reilly, the name the author gives to her inner self – the self that speaks honestly about her battles with social anxiety and self-approval – the self that is searching for acceptance in a cold and turbulent world.

But despite her struggles, Joycie Reilly continues her journey through life, experiencing feelings of great happiness and great pain along the way. And her hope for you the reader is this, that in knowing her journey, you may better come to understand your own.

The book is divided into 10 lifecycles – each lifecycle presenting a separate set of poems relevant to the age and circumstances of the author. The lifecycles span over a 30 year period beginning with Early Teens and ending with Coming Home.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly relative  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 March 2020

I don’t usually buy poetry books online but I liked the description of this book, I was not disappointed. The poems are incredibly moving and I found it interesting to see the style and voice of the poems evolve over time. There are little story lines before each segment/lifecycle explaining the motivation behind each set of poems and how they relate to the author’s life.

I would recommend this book to a variety of ages and personalities as there is a segment/lifestyle in it for everyone. I think young adults would also find this book very relatable and helpful with dealing with issues of social anxiety and mental health. Being a romantic at heart these poems spoke to me. I also related to the rawness of the poems in the section My Mother Myself which were about grief and loss. But if you take the book as a whole, I think my favourite is ‘The Phoenix’ which appears at the beginning and end of the book, a poem which promises that no matter in our lives we can pick ourselves up and fly free.

Read the reviews and follow Joyce: Amazon UK

And:Amazon US

Read reviews and follow Joyce: Goodreads

Connect to Joyce via her blog: Joycie Reilly Poetry

Bette A. Stevens has her children’s book Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale on offer April 21st – April 24th  at 99c/99p as it is Earth Day on April 22nd and as the Monarch butterfly is an endangered species it is an opportunity to draw attention to its plight.

About  Amazing Matilda

(Ages 4-11 + grownups love it too) Friendship, patience and persistence are among the lessons learned in this gem of a tale featuring an amazing monarch butterfly.

This award-winning picture book adventure follows the monarch butterfly’s life cycle as Matilda embarks on a quest to make her dream of flying come true. Matilda emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf—she stretches and yawns and knows she wants to fly. Sparrow tells her to follow her dreams. Toad and Rabbit laugh at a creature without wings who wants to fly. You’ll be as amazed as Toad and Rabbit are as you follow Matilda from egg to imago. Science, art and wise lessons for children—all wrapped up in a tale the kids will want to read/hear again and again!

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jan 19, 2020 Patricia Furstenberg rated it Five Stars

“Amazing Matilda” is one of those special, unforgettable books that are a captivating story AND a wonderful message blend into an attractive format.

Through Matilda’s adventures, children will absorb a valuable lesson: that patience and self-belief are important in achieving one’s dreams and that if you wish for something and try hard enough, you will succeed.

“Amazing Matilda” is an enchanting book that belongs on any child’s bookshelf.
An enchanting book that belongs on any child’s bookshelf.

Read the reviews and buy the book April 21st- 24th at 99c: Amazon US

And at 99p: Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Bette: Goodreads

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog:  4 Writers and Readers

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will be leaving with some books to add to your reading list.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday 19th September 2019 – Bette A. Stevens, D.Wallace Peach and Gloria Smud


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

The first post is from award winning children’s author Bette A. Stevens, an advocate for the beautiful Monarch Butterfly.. in this post she urges our support during their migration.

The Great Monarch Migration

Image Bette. A. Stevens

Each year from August through October, masses of monarch butterflies embark on a journey from the southern reaches of Canada that takes them 2500 Miles to remote mountain treetops in central Mexico. Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. Here at the farmstead in central Maine, monarch butterflies visit us from early June through mid to late September. As a citizen scientist, I report my sightings to Journey North . I invite you to visit their website to find out more about our amazing monarch butterflies and find out how you can help.

Hubby Dan and I have sighted sixty (60) monarchs so far this season. The monarch chrysalis in my photo collage was spun by a caterpillar Dan discovered on a day lily leaf when he was cleaning the garden on August 13, 2019. We transferred the caterpillar and part of the leaf to our back porch.

Head over and read more of this fascinating post about the Monarch Butterfly and how you can help: https://4writersandreaders.com/2019/09/17/celebrate-the-great-monarch-buttefly-mirgration/

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The next post is from Diana Wallace Peach with a very helpful tutorial on how to set up your book trailer with Powerpoint. A book trailer is a terrific book marketing tool and well worth heading over to read the complete post..

 Make a Book Trailer with Powerpoint – Diana Wallace Peach.

I’m a cheapskate.

I’m also technologically impaired.

So when it came to making a book trailer for Sunwielder’s audiobook pre-release hype, I resorted to the old familiar standby from my years of selling office furniture – MS PowerPoint. The program’s been updated over the past 2 decades, but I still figured it out with some trial and error. And error. And a little more error.

The main thing I learned is regarding sequence:

1. Start with your text: Keep it pithy. I used my book blurb and pared it down to its bare essentials. That gave me about fifteen slides to populate with images.

Please head over to read the rest of this helpful post: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/09/10/book-trailers-with-powerpoint/

D. Wallace Peach, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8
Website/Blog: http://www.mythsofthemirror.com – Goodread https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

Please visit Amazon or Diana’s website to view all her books.

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Last week on September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day 2019. Whilst reading through blogs, I visited Trev Jones blog and I came across this poem by his wife Debbie Jones that resonated with me.  I am sharing the first few lines but I do recommend that you head over and read the rest of the poem and the accompanying post. Many of us have been in a dark place, and for one reason or another, a loving hand, a guardian angel or something deep inside us that pulls us back from the brink.

Anyway here is part of the poem by Debbie JonesMy Best Self

If my best self could take my hand,
Guide me safely through troubled lands,
The only thing I’d need is me,
Rough seas would part, so I could see,
That life won’t always be like this,
I’d give me a reassuring kiss,
A tender touch upon my shoulder,
To give me strength & make me bolder,
A gentle thought, a caring deed,

Please head over and read the rest of the poem and post: https://gloriasmud.com/2019/09/10/my-best-self/

About Debbie Jones and Gloria Smud.

Welcome to my poetry blog, & thank you for visiting! Hello! My name is Debbie Jones, and I write original poems and post my own accompanying photographs under the name of Gloria Smud..a play on the words for “Glorious Mud.”

I hope you’ll enjoy walking with me to experience some of the sights, & my inspirations from the beautiful, Welsh countryside in & around the village of Llangunllo, in Powys, where I live, with my husband, Trev.

Read more about what you can find on the blog: https://gloriasmud.com/2019/02/28/about-me/

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full and follow the writers if you do not already do so.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the Shelves #Poetry #Photography – My Maine by Bette A. Stevens


Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Bette A. Stevens…A poetry and photographic collection… My 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.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SSNDL5L

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Maine-Haiku-through-Seasons-ebook/dp/B07SSNDL5L

About Bette A. Stevens

Inspired by nature and human nature, Bette A. Stevens is an author, retired teacher, wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, reading, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature.

She advocates for children and childhood literacy and for monarch butterflies, an endangered species. Stevens’s children’s activity book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO!, was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books.

Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH: The story, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England and prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, debut novel released January 2015.

Books by Bette A. Stevens

One of the recent reviews for Amazing Matilda

Lisa Kradjian 5.0 out of 5 stars What a lovely story! April 30, 2019

“Amazing Matilda” is a simple story about a caterpillar who wants to fly, but is told — and illustrated — so beautifully. Flowers, insects, animals and more are described in caring detail. We root for Matilda but cherish the advice her friends give her “Be patient and trust your instincts.” Advice for us all! Bravo.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Connect to Bette A. Stevens.

Website: https://4writersandreaders.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBetteAStevens
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteAStevens

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share the news of her new book.. thanks Sally.