Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Gigi Sedlmayer, Jan Sikes, Balroop Singh, Mary Smith, Janice Spina, Kristina Stanley, Carmen Stefanescu, Phillip T. Stevens, Bette A. Stevens and Molly Stevens


Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week or so.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their listing which also includes a link to buy the books but also discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts too.

Here is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore with their  reviews.

Gigi Sedlmayer, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Gigi-Sedlmayer/e/B003U8G4WC
Blog: http://gigised.com/

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

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An extract from a recent review for Book five in the Talon Series Encounter

TALON, ENCOUNTER is Book 5 in The Talon Series and for those new to this ongoing series, the story is set in Peru and is focused on a young girl Matica who is congenitally small in stature (though nine years of age she appears to be age two!) and who is frowned upon by the Andean Indians because of her strange appearance: Matica is lonely and longs for friends which she finds not in people, but in the condors – birds of threatened extinction. She is guided by the great condors Tamo and Tima and when their egg hatches Matica nurtures the young condor, Talon, who becomes her closest ally. Together they soar through adventures that celebrate the majesty of the Peruvian landscape and beyond.

Matica goes above and beyond to help her beloved condors. Each book grows stronger as Gigi captures our full attention with her imaginative story. Grady Harp, January 18

Jan Sikes, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK
Website: https://www.jansikes.com/

An extract from a recent review for The Convict and the Rose

This journey towards growth and a deeper understanding is one very special reading experience. The anguished struggle of two-fallible, and all too human people as life hands out its own deranged sense of justice is at times painful to read.

This book provoked anger, sadness and a deep sense of empathy in me. It in turn delighted me, and made me cry, and then continued to invade my senses long after the ending. There is a depth of love between these two damaged souls that defies the limitations of time. The drug abuse is a road many of us have taken in times of the darkest despair, the struggle to overcome it and move clearly distant is an epic one, as is the final understanding of the violent reactions of Luke to his imprisonment. Life knocked these valiant people to the ground again and again. BUT they didn’t stay down for the count.  A wonderful, moving and intensely memorable story of love!

Balroop Singh, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U
Blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

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A recent review for Emerging Shadows

In a topsy-turvy world where people grapple to make sense of the events around them, they look to literature for a moment of reflection. Poetry by Balroop Singh helps clear the chaos by making life easier to navigate, find, and feel cheerful about.

In The Secret of Being Alive, she writes, “sharp shards of shattered emotions, pierce as I try to gather those sensations, wilderness walks with me; yet a dim, discrete light beckons” – has such spunk, that last shred commanding us to hang on to hope, not rope, as the first step. And, no matter how glossy the outside world looks, there’s always a struggle “beneath that beauty lie broken dreams, beneath that smile recline unspoken words,” which she pens in When Darkness Deepens. What she does in How Can I Thank You? “The dazzling rays of sun, had to pierce through you, to reach me, while the moonlight was all mine,” is pure enchantment. So many pearls of unalloyed magic glisten in Emerging from Shadows, worth visiting and revisiting. Anyone can externalize, but if one wishes to internalize in a world where emotions are fast dying, grab a copy of this book. Now.

Mary Smith, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0
Website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

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

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An extract from a recent review for Donkey Boy and Other Stories

This is a fascinating collection of short stories, set in various places with a wealth of diverse characters, all wonderfully rounded. The author has a talent for setting the scene and giving a sense of place with few well-chosen words.

I read each of these unusual stories slowly, taking in the way each situation unfolded, savouring the reactions of the characters to each problem they faced, enjoying the touches of humour, poignancy, empathising with the great sadness in some of the tales.

Not sure I had an overall favourite, they are all easy to read, but these are the ones that stayed with me long after I’d read them:

The story in the title, Donkey Boy. The protagonist, Ali, should be in school but instead drives a donkey cart for his father. His resentment is palpable from the very start. The dilemma he faces exposes the way different cultures live; not only their values and ethics but the differences in the child and adult in these societies. This is well deserving as the title story.

Janice Spina, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG
Blog: http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com

Please visit Amazon or Janice’s blog to view all her books for adults and children.

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One of the early reviews for Lucy The Talented Toy Terrier

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne  5.0 out of 5 stars Another cute book by Janice Spina March 27, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Janice Spina’s new story about Lucy. It was great fun to learn about Lucy’s personality and how she liked to spend her day. For example, Lucy loved taking walks with her owners, but she hated bath time.Guess what Lucy’s favorite meal was? She loved spaghetti, with or without meatballs. But it needed homemade sauce. Parents and children will love learning about Lucy and her endearing traits. It’s another remarkable story by Janice Spina. I highly recommend that you add it to your collection of books by this talented author such as Louey the Lazy Elephant and Lamby the Lonely Lamb. You’re sure to enjoy them.

Kristina Stanley, Buyhttp://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I
Website/Blog: http://kristinastanley.com/blog/

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An extract from a recent review for Avalanche

Although Kristina Stanley says at the end of the novel that she wrote Avalanche first, this became the third book in the series. Having read and enjoyed the first two Stone Mountain mysteries, I recommend them all and suggest reading them in order. Once again, Kalin Thompson is the main protagonist, but characters from previous books return and previous incidents are cleverly referred adding to the backstory.

From the fast-moving opening when Kalin’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears, the plot twists and turns with enough clues and suspects to keep the reader thinking to the end.

The story is tightly plotted, well-structured and, as I noted down while reading, it’s ‘edge of my snowmobile tense’. There are various suspects when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin investigating from Ray to Kalin via other employees at Stone Mountain Resort. I kept wondering, ‘Who will be next?’, ‘Who is guilty of what?’ and ‘Who do you trust?’. Not only Kalin needed to be wary but others caught up in the events as the threat level escalated.

Carmen Stefanescu, buy: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Mistress-Carmen-Stefanescu-ebook/dp/B06XNW7RXD
Bloghttp://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

One of the reviews for Shadows of the Past

Sandra Cox  5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Dark September 26, 2017

Shadows of the Past is a dark paranormal that flows smoothly between the present and the past when a young woman, trying to mend a broken relationship, finds an ancient jeweled cross, human remains and makes contact with the ghost of a medieval nun. Genevieve’s (the nun) oppression in the story is almost palatable. The written word weighted. Shadows of the Past combines romance and paranormal with a light trace of horror. Leave the light on when you read.
 

Phillip T. Stephens, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Phillip-Stephens/e/B0091XK7HS
Blog: http://ptstephens.com

Please visit Phillip’s Amazon page or his blog to view all his books.

An extract from a review for Cigerets, guns & Beer.

The cover of Cigerets, Guns & Beer by Phillip T. Stevens catches the eye immediately. Beer and cigarettes are present, necessary for any good breakfast. While a gun is not displayed, bullet holes are, perhaps from the night before. A reader might predict that this will be a “good ol’ boy” novel replete with rednecks. The reader would be correct.

This novel will make those who grew up in a small town nostalgic; a place where there might be only one law enforcement officer who also read water and electric meters, sold alcohol in defiance of Sunday “blue laws,” was a source of under-the-table porn, and served as a de facto judge deciding what town residents could and could not get away with.

Bette A. Stevens, Buy: http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens
Website/blog: http://www.4writersandreaders.com

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One of the recent reviews for Pure Trash: The Story

I love this short story. I enjoy Bette’s easy-style of writing and her ability in creating her characters. The timing of the story takes place in the 1950s, and she sets a wonderfully nostalgic scene. A compelling story with a mixture of fun and drama.

Molly Stevens, Buy:https://www.amazon.com/Boomer-Ledge-Molly-Stevens-ebook/dp/B075YBHMZ7
Blog/Website:http://www.shallowreflections.com

A recent review for the book.

Kids have Elf on the Shelf, why not give adults a Boomer on the Ledge? This is a very short book (24 pages) with images of an adorable middle-aged doll in a variety of staged positions that poke fun at the trials of aging. Stevens added humorous captions to the images, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. A quick and enjoyable read for boomers and anyone dealing with the less enjoyable aspects of aging. We might as well laugh!

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the authors and their books on social media. Thanks Sally

 

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Jack Eason, Bette A. Stevens, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Annette Rochelle Aben and Paulette Mahurin


Welcome to Monday’s Edition of my Cafe and Bookstore Update, with news from authors on the shelves. The first author with a new review is Jack Eason with his historical novella Autumn 1066.

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader.

Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley

The latest review for the book 

Deborah A. Bowman, author  5.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Done! March 4, 2018

Eason’s authenticity and realism in the end of days for the Anglo-Saxons in what was to become England or Great Britain is a must-read for anyone who cares about the history of this developing country which ruled the world for centuries. The ancient spelling and punctuation of names long buried in antiquity, as well as the proper names of weapons, battle strategies, and language show much research, checked and rechecked, by Mr. Eason in a time when history has been all but forgotten. I highly recommend this novella to the historian, history buff, and the curious, concerned reader for this is all of our heritage in one way or another … all countries, all peoples, all evolutionary ethnicities. This turning point, “Autumn 1066” , shaped the world. The ending, the last line, captured my heart. (No spoilers here.)

Read the reviews and buy the book – Amazon US –  https://www.amazon.com/Autumn-1066-Anglo-Saxon-dominance-ended/dp/1546685308

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1546685308

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY

Follow Jack and read other reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4026249.Jack_Eason

Connect to Jack via his website: https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/

The next author is award winning children’s author Bette A. Stevens and her delightful book Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale.

About Amazing Matilda

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.
In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

A recent review for the book

D.L. Finn  5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Tale! January 2, 2018

This is a sweet story about a caterpillar named Matilda and her friends. She immediately wants to fly, but is given the advice to be patient and keep trying– when she can’t. The book is illustrated by the author and that adds another level of depth to the book. The story has a lesson that not only kids can learn from, but also the adults who read the book with them. I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!

Read all the wonderful reviews for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Matilda-Monarchs-Bette-Stevens/dp/1470187663

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amazing-Matilda-Childrens-Literature-Butterfly-ebook/dp/B00AU9ZISA

Also by Bette A. Stevens

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 via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com

The next author who has received a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for The Fall of Lillith.

About The Fall of Lilith:

So says Lilith, the most exquisite of the angels. The two most important pledges an angel makes to God are those of obedience and celibacy, and dire consequences await any who break their oaths.

At first, the angels are happy in their celestial home, learning and exploring together. As they grow older, though, Lilith begins to question these pledges, which now seem arbitrary and stifling. Her challenge of the status quo leads to disagreement, jealousy, and strife among her peers. As the arguing and acrimony grow, lines are drawn and sides are chosen. Is war inevitable?

Filled with robust characters, incredible landscapes, and exciting action, The Fall of Lilith is an epic tale of seduction, betrayal, and revenge.

Free Will involves asking difficult questions and making hard choices, choices that require strength and sacrifice. These decisions can tear apart friendships and cause rifts between allies.

They can even threaten the foundations of Heaven.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Most people have heard the biblical story of the fallen angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of Heaven. Vashti Quiroz Vega takes up from there with a fanciful and imaginative saga of how the rebellion came about, and what happened after the fall of Lucifer and his allies.

While in the biblical version, Lucifer is the leader of the rebellion, in Vega’s absorbing story, a beautiful female angel named Lilith is the driving force behind the rebellion. She seduces Lucifer and a group of other angels into rebelling against God. Once defeated by the angelic hosts that remain loyal to God, Lilith, Lucifer, and the rest of the fallen angels are expelled from Heaven and cast to earth.

Far from feeling remorseful for her treachery, after the fall, Lilith remains stubbornly rebellious against God and determined to gain a measure of revenge. Lilith is a dark protagonist that the reader quickly learns to love to hate. Rather than eliciting any reader sympathy, the reader feels compelled to keep turning the pages desperately hoping that Lilith will, in the end, get her just comeuppance.

I was truly in awe of how imaginative Vega must be to create a story like this. She supplies abundant details which make this book not only enjoyable and interesting to read, but that makes the story itself so believable that the reader easily imagines how things could have happened just the way she describes it.

The Fall of Lilith is perhaps one of the most unique novels I’ve ever read. It’s very well written. In many ways, the style of the book was reminiscent of the writings of C. S. Lewis. That said, you needn’t have any religious convictions to enjoy this book. The Fall of Lilith stands on its own as a gripping angelic fantasy novel.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Lilith-Fantasy-Angels-ebook/dp/B074CPKLHH/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fall-Lilith-Fantasy-Angels/dp/1947475002

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Connect to Vashti via her website: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

Annette Rochelle Aben is celebrating her latest release with cover art by her sister Lorraine Parent. Fresh off the press…. A Haiku Perspective 2018.

About the book

Take a look at life and it’s miraculous energy presented using the format of traditional Japanese Haiku. You’ll smile, laugh out loud and may even find yourself getting a little teary eyed as you journey through a year in the life of a poet. Her observations are woven together with wit, wisdom and will leave you wanting more. A Haiku Perspective 2018 is a book of inspiring, relatable poetry for people ages 12 and better.

Head over and buy your copy in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Haiku-Perspective-2018-Annette-Rochelle/dp/1546814302

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

A review for A Tanka Picture Book

This beautiful little book will warm your heart and stir your soul. A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben is a treasure trove of inspiration, filled with picturesque images overlaid by touching verse. The author explains that Tanka means “short song.” I find this the perfect description, considering I felt my heart singing while I read. Compassion, encouragement, and gratitude create a texture and mood that will leave you feeling both peaceful and exhilarated. Whether your spirit needs fortifying or you’re simply looking for a splendid gift, this book is sure to deliver.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

 

Connect to Annette via her blog/website: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

The final author that has some wonderful recent reviews is Paulette Mahurin with her recent release The Day I Saw The Hummingbird.

About the book

On the eve of his tenth birthday, a young slave’s life is turned upside down. The unthinkable events that led up to the day Oscar Mercer saw a hummingbird test the limits of this young boy’s body, mind and soul. Gripped with fear and filled with anger, Oscar faces raw, crushing hatred aimed at him and everyone he loves. In a time when a nation was ripped apart geographically, economically, politically and morally, comes a story of a courageous boy who began life as a slave on a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana and escapes via The Underground Railroad.

Through the efforts and good will of kind, brave people determined to free slaves, Oscar faces devastating obstacles and dangers. Struggling with his inner impulse to seek revenge for the injustices and violence levied on his family and friends, he discovers that in bondage you pray to God, but in freedom, you meet Him.

From the award-winning, best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes a story that brings another cadre of memorable characters alive on pages that pulse with hatred and kindness, cruelty and compassion, despair and hope. Oscar’s journey on the Underground Railroad is a heart-pounding ride that the reader will remember long after this story ends.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Although I usually don’t like to read books that have a lot of violence and hardship in them, I had a feeling that this book would have a strong core, and wanted to give it a try. It does have a positive core, despite the tragic events. It was a moving story, although definitely very hard to read at times. However, sometimes violence serves its purpose, as it did in this case. This is a story of human strength and power of soul, which is hauntingly real. I suppose the only reason I don’t give it the full five stars is because it was so hard to read at times that it made me want to skip pages, but that is my problem, as I am quite sensitive.

 

Read all of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Day-Saw-Hummingbird-Novel-ebook/dp/B075QMKXQS

Also by Paulette Mahurin

51i68gzmu9l-_uy250_51kctenodfl-_uy250_51q0487ggfl-_uy250_Read all the reviews and BUY the bookshttps://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

Profits from Paulette’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read more reviews and follow Paulette on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5895757.Paulette_Mahurin

 

Connect to Paulette:https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will find a book or two to read. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Judith Barrow, Bette A. Stevens, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Dan Alatorre and Eloise de Sousa


Welcome to the first of the updates this week for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. If you are a first time author then here is a post which shows you how you can get FREE promotion for your new book and join the other authors on the shelves of the bookstore.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/smorgasbord-free-book-promotions-first-time-authors/

The first author is Judith Barrow for a recent review for the first book in the Howarth family saga, Pattern of Shadows.

About the book

Mary is a nursing sister at a Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling; life at home a constant round of arguments—often prompted by her fly-by-night sister, Ellen, the apple of her short-tempered father’s eye. Then Frank turns up at the house one night—a guard at the camp, he’s been watching Mary for weeks—and won’t leave until she agrees to walk out with him.

Frank Shuttleworth is a difficult man to love and it’s not long before Mary gives him his marching orders. But Shuttleworth won’t take no for an answer and the gossips are eager for their next victim, and for the slightest hint of fraternization with the enemy. Suddently, not only Mary’s happiness but her very life is threatened by the most dangerous of wartime secrets.

One of the recent reviews

A brilliant book about the life of a young nurse struggling to cope during WW2. Mary is from a working class family and the details of her life are spot-on for the period without being laboured or sounding artificial. She is so well-drawn she quickly becomes a figure we understand and love despite her mistakes, and when she is faced with danger from those around her we want to protect her and keep her safe. She faces prejudices that we all still face today and we can understand her dilemmas.

The others in the book all have their own multi-layered personalities which means we can sympathise, for instance, with Mary over her selfish, flighty sister, yet still feel for Ellen when things go badly for her.
This is a love story and a story of hatred and prejudice. The tension builds inexorably to its conclusion and I read on apprehensively but unable to put the book down, genuinely afraid for several of the characters. That is the mark of a good book.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pattern-Shadows-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B00940YWKQ

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Shadows-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B00940YWKQ

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Read more reviews and follow Judith on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

The next author is popular children’s writer Bette A. Stevens.. and instead of one of her stories, here is her puzzle book, Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, which has received a recent review.

About the book

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! is a resource for multi-cultural and interdisciplinary studies in the classroom or at home. Integrates Math (measurement and geometry) and Language Arts (research and writing) for elementary and middle school students, while presenting a few historical facts about tangrams.

Tangrams and word puzzles (rhyming riddles/poetry) encourage students to have fun while they’re learning, and then to demonstrate what they’ve learned. Includes ideas for home/school projects. Tangram outlines, with rhyming riddles as clues, are even labeled for coloring for preschoolers. Hands-on fun for the whole classroom/family!

A recent review for the book

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars Very Clever! January 2, 2018

I bought this book to give as a gift to my grandchildren. Reading through the book before giving it to them, I found it taught me a few things, too. First, I had no idea a tangram is a seven-piece puzzle with specific shapes. A pattern is provided to cut out and get started along with the history of it. There are many ways to put the pieces together, but the book supplies shapes to make– with clues or riddles as to what they are. Although, this is a very clever and educational book for children, I appreciated the added bonus that an adult can sit down and enjoy it with the kids!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Tangram-Zoo-Word-Puzzles-Too/dp/1470124777

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tangram-Zoo-Word-Puzzles-Too/dp/1470124777

Also by Bette A. Stevens

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

And on 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 via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

The next author who has received a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for The Fall of Lillith.

About The Fall of Lilith:

So says Lilith, the most exquisite of the angels. The two most important pledges an angel makes to God are those of obedience and celibacy, and dire consequences await any who break their oaths.

At first, the angels are happy in their celestial home, learning and exploring together. As they grow older, though, Lilith begins to question these pledges, which now seem arbitrary and stifling. Her challenge of the status quo leads to disagreement, jealousy, and strife among her peers. As the arguing and acrimony grow, lines are drawn and sides are chosen. Is war inevitable?

Filled with robust characters, incredible landscapes, and exciting action, The Fall of Lilith is an epic tale of seduction, betrayal, and revenge.

Free Will involves asking difficult questions and making hard choices, choices that require strength and sacrifice. These decisions can tear apart friendships and cause rifts between allies.

They can even threaten the foundations of Heaven.

The most recent review

I enjoyed reading about the various characters of this book, They are angels with wings to fly, one of them has additional abilities to change into different shapes. other one can breath fire, third one can sense the presence of others at any distance from him. There are others too with special abilities including Lilith, who can influence anyone by her words and can see future. All of them are created by God Himself to live in Floraison, with strict rules.

Most of them followed the rules, but Lilith despised following those rules because she had visions about the freedom to be bestowed upon yet to be created mankind of Earth. She revolted against God for not allowing the angels of Floraison the same freedom.
The revolt led to a bloody war between angels who followed rules and the others who were influenced by the designs of Lilith. Lilith and her supporters lost badly in the revolt and God condemned them to fall on Earth and bear punishment of hard living on earth.

They had to endure the punishment given by God in various forms. Fighting with various animals of earth, escaping from natural disasters such as volcanoes, earthquakes, dust storms in deserts etc. and finding food for survival were only some of the problems they had to tackle. This story of the survival of fallen angels on earth is very interesting till the last page.

Besides the story, I liked the use of vocabulary in this book to express the various actions and thoughts. Honestly, I learnt the use of many new words from this book. Most interesting part of this book for me was the narration of a story by Lilith. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Lilith-Fantasy-Angels-ebook/dp/B074CPKLHH/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fall-Lilith-Fantasy-Angels/dp/1947475002

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Connect to Vashti via her website: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

The next author is International best selling author Dan Alatorre and An Angel on her Shoulder.

About An Angel on her Shoulder

A series of unexplainable tragedies surround a family and their young daughter as they seek to determine whether they are possessed, paranoid or collectively going insane. Meanwhile, forgotten clues from the father’s past may indicate forces are at work in ways more ominous than any of them could have imagined.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Audio version. This was wonderful. It starts with a horrible accident. But the next thing you know it goes to something else that has you thinking, what the heck did they mess up the story it’s totally different now. It took me a little while to realize that the story was now in the past. It goes back and forth like that several times, so it eventually started to make sense. I hate spoilers so I’ll leave it there.

The narration is superb he really brings the story to life.

This Audiobook was given to me for free at my request from the publisher, author or narrator and I provided this unbiased voluntary review.

Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Action-packed, Unpredictable, Great world building, Original, Page-turner, Entertaining, Happily Ever After, Inspirational, Whimsical, Scary, Haunting, Easy-to-read, Wonderful characters, Twisted.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Her-Shoulder-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B073GLVT71

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Her-Shoulder-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B073GLVT71

A small selection of other books by Dan Alatorre

Discover all of Dan’s books, read the reviews and buy: http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU

Read more reviews and follow Dan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7847408.Dan_Alatorre

Connect to Dan via his website: www.DanAlatorre.com

The final author today with a recent review is Eloise de Sousa for her book The Iron Pendulum.

About the book

Julia Webster and Hugo del Fuego are missing from their third floor apartment in Bagley. The grisly display discovered in their home leaves Detectives Perkins and Jones with little evidence to follow and, as more remains turn up, the pressure mounts to find the killer. Time is the key element in solving a case riddled with dead ends and a strange family hiding its true evil behind the façade of money and power.

Can they unravel the secrets hidden behind the closed doors and will it be enough to solve the case and rescue the couple in time?

A recent review for the book

Stella F 5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Read December 17, 2017

High paced crime thriller? or rather slow and going nowhere in the case of detectives Perkins and Jones. But what makes their job so addictive? There are plenty of descriptive elements in here; a mix of first person, Julia Webster, and third person, narrative. Whilst the majority of us would consider ourselves normal, we continue to read what unveils to be far from the ordinary. This is a thriller that shines its light into the dark recess of a mental institution. Eloise rations the laughs, but there are still one liners beautifully woven between the suspense, intrigue and horror. Skilful plotting and insidious build-up of tension, makes for an unexpected outcome.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Pendulum-Eloise-Sousa-ebook/dp/B01HYFLBII

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Iron-Pendulum-Eloise-Sousa-ebook/dp/B01HYFLBII

A selection of books by Eloise de Sousa

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Eloise-De-Sousa/e/B00JKTFVXI

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eloise-De-Sousa/e/B01N9PWJ5Y

Read more reviews and follow Eloise on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7781215.Eloise_De_Sousa

Connect to Eloise via her blog: https://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found an addition or two to your groaning TBRs…… thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – K.D. Dowdall, Bette Stevens, Molly Stevens, Jacquie Biggar and Sacha de Black


Welcome to Friday’s author update and delighted to kick proceedings off with the new release from K.D. Dowdall  – The Stone Arch Secret

About the book

Twenty-eight-year-old anthropologist, Lilly Allaire, receives a phone call telling her that Dax is dead. The cause of death is unknown.

At the age of fourteen, best friends, Lilly and Dax, experience a traumatic incident. After the incident, Dax is institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital in a catatonic state. For Dax, his memory loss is a subconscious act of self-preservation, a blocking out of all memories. Lilly still suffers a blocked memory of that day and has frequent nightmares.

After Dax’s funeral, Lilly decides to go back to Salmon Brook, her hometown, to find out the truth about the mysterious incident that destroyed Dax’s life. While searching for clues to the incident, Lilly has a chance meeting with a former high school classmate, Noah Hawthorne.

Noah remembers Lilly as his high school secret crush and offers to help her. Together, they try to unravel the mysterious incident that plagues Lilly’s dreams and turns them into nightmares. They soon realize that their hometown has a deadly secret and both their lives are now in danger. However, Noah has a secret of his own that puts Lilly in harm’s way.

One of the early reviews for the book

R. R. 4.0 out of 5 stars A mystery from the past is explored January 10, 2018

Long ago, when just teenagers, Lilly Allaire and her best friend Dax came upon a stone enclosure and inside that enclosure was a single gravestone and an alter. Lilly and Dax were big dreamers, often making up tales in the forest where they both liked to go. Curiosity was almost like second nature to Lilly and she practically dragged Dax back out to the enclosure a few days later after they found it. Lilly was fascinated and wanted to learn more about the gravestone in the enclosure. Her curiosity led her and Dax straight into a path of no return. Years later, Lilly still has nightmares about that night. She doesn’t remember what happened and Dax was found unable to speak and in an altered state. One which he never recovers from.

Now that Dax is dead, Lilly finally goes back to her hometown of Salmon Brook to confront her past and to try to fit the missing pieces of the puzzle together. She needs to make sense of what happened that night. She already blames herself for what happened to Dax and now it is finally time to unravel the mystery that has haunted her for so many years. Along with Noah Hawthorne, a boy that was once in her high school class and is also hiding secrets of his own, Lilly tries to unravel the the past, but sometimes the past was meant to stay buried.

I really enjoyed the vibe of THE STONE ARCH SECRET. It felt really eerie and had a ghost story type of setting which I actually loved and it really kept me engaged with the story. The mystery aspect really keeps you guessing and there are a few curve balls thrown your way that left me speechless. There is a romance story-line, but it never takes center stage above the mystery. I often times find that when there is a romance in a mystery story, the mystery aspect takes a backseat, but this was not the case here. All in all, I think this is a story that should not be missed.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Stone-Arch-Secret-K-Dowdall-ebook/dp/B077H11HKW

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stone-Arch-Secret-K-Dowdall-ebook/dp/B077H11HKW

Also by K.D. Dowdall

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-DeMers-Dowdall/e/B00JO0Q4AM

And Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-DeMers-Dowdall/e/B00JO0Q4AM

Read more reviews and follow Karen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7394355.K_D_Dowdall

Connect to K.D. Dowdall via her blog: https://wordpress.com/view/karendowdall.com

Bette A. Stevens created the magical world of Amazing Matilda the Monarch Butterfly and it continues to entrance its young readers.

About Amazing Matilda

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.
In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

Get your FREE Authorgraph for your digital copy from author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens at http://www.4writersandreaders.com

One of the recent reviews for the book

Delightful Tale! on January 2, 2018

This is a sweet story about a caterpillar named Matilda and her friends. She immediately wants to fly, but is given the advice to be patient and keep trying– when she can’t. The book is illustrated by the author and that adds another level of depth to the book. The story has a lesson that not only kids can learn from, but also the adults who read the book with them. I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!

Also by Bette A. Stevens

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

And on 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 via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

The next author is Molly Stevens whose debut release is a picture book story for those of us of a certain age. Boomer on the Ledge.

About Boomer on the Ledge.

Do you believe aging is grim? Something to tolerate while waiting for the reaper? Be prepared to challenge this assumption when you read: Introducing: Boomer on the Ledge.™ Molly Stevens observed her grandsons discovering Christmas magic with an elf who monitored their behavior and reported it to Santa. As invasive as that seemed, she realized no one watches people in her age group unless scanning for signs of dementia. She felt invisible and needed validation. So she created a little doll whose daily surprises reminded her how being a boomer is both harrowing and hilarious. From the mundane to the sublime, let Boomer on the Ledge™ help you transform grim into grins while you explore the antics of an aging boomer.

The most recent review for the book

Kids have Elf on the Shelf, why not give adults a Boomer on the Ledge? This is a very short book (24 pages) with images of an adorable middle-aged doll in a variety of staged positions that poke fun at the trials of aging. Stevens added humorous captions to the images, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. A quick and enjoyable read for boomers and anyone dealing with the less enjoyable aspects of aging. We might as well laugh!

Read the reviews and buy the book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Boomer-Ledge-Molly-Stevens-ebook/dp/B075YBHMZ7

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boomer-Ledge-Molly-Stevens-ebook/dp/B075YBHMZ7

Connect to Molly Stevens via her website: http://www.shallowreflections.com

Now a new release at the end of December for USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar with Maggie’s Revenge: Wounded Hearts Book 6.

About the book

DEA Special Agent Maggie Holt is fierce, smart, beautiful– and in over her head.

Maggie has been working undercover 15 months when she is taken by Chinese-Mexican cartel leader, Chenglei. She tries to escape with 8 other women and is captured and brutally punished.

Adam O’Connor is angry and frustrated. It’s his fault his partner, and one-time lover, is missing and no matter how many leads he chases, they don’t bring Maggie home.

An unexpected break in the case sends Adam south to Texas. His old SEAL Team Chief, Frank Stein, offers his home and his help in the search effort.

Will these two strong men find Maggie? And will their decades old friendship be destroyed by their love for the same woman?

Read the exciting continuation of the Wounded Hearts Saga today!

Related subjects include: mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, police procedural, crime fiction.

One of the early reviews for the book

Magdalena (Maggie) Holt, a DEA Agent undercover in a Cartel who is in danger and a has become a captive, is working very hard to get back home and take down the man who has taken her a prisoner and intends to sell her to the highest bidder. She’s helped some women escape the hell that has become her reality, but will she survive long enough to help the women she is locked away with and herself?

Maggie’s intent on getting home and taking down Chenglei in the process so that she can rid the world of one of the scariest men she has met. She’s locked away in a compound in Mexico and needs to find a way to get home and take Chenglei down in the process. She manages to escape along with 5 other women who were being held with her, they make it out of the compound and hide until help can get there to take them back to the US and home.

Adam O’Connor, Maggie’s partner in the DEA and former lover, is beside himself that Maggie has been gone for so long and that they cannot locate her to bring her home. HIs SAC Amanda Rhinehold wants nothing more than to bring Agent Holt home as well, but she is a woman who is in charge and has to follow protocol to do it. She is trying to get Agent O’Connor off the case because she feels he is too close to it. Adam is sure that once Maggie gets back home they can work things out and get back together, but he’s confused because he’s attracted to his SAC.

This is the 6th book in Jacquie Biggar’s Wounded Hearts Series and is the first one I have read in the series. I wish I had read the stories in order from the first one to this one, but it did not retract from the story as Ms. Biggar gives a lot of back story to understand what is going on. I really enjoyed this story and enjoy reading Ms. Biggar’s books. They are well written and the characters feel like someone you would meet on the streets and like as a person if you talked to them and got to know them.

If you like a strong men and very strong willed women and enjoy a story where the heroine hides her fear when doing her job, but always has to win, then you will love this book. I give this story a 5 star review, and I look forward to going back and reading the other stories in this series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Maggies-Revenge-Wounded-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B075S16F2Y

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maggies-Revenge-Wounded-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B075S16F2Y

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

And to round up today’s update the most recent review for Keepers: The Eden East YA Novels by Sacha de Black

About Keepers

Eden’s life is balanced… …until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.   Two murdered parents.  One deadly choice.

The most recent review for the book

on 7 January 2018

An unusual fantasy world sharply imagined by a new YA fantasy author, is introduced to us in this energetic and very well-written book. I studied the glossary of terms in the front matter, as I began to get a feel for the cosmology of Trutinor. In the initial stages of the story I spent some time trying to grasp the nature and laws of this world, and to keep track of all the characters. But the author maintained her hold on my interest, as she drew me into the main protagonist’s dilemmas, motivation and emotional dynamics.

The story powers through to some very strong and compelling action scenes with high stakes for the characters we care most about, and finally we are brought to a shocking twist in the finale, making us want to read book 2 in this series.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Keepers-Eden-Novels-Sacha-Black/dp/1999722507

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Keepers-Eden-Novels-Sacha-Black/dp/1999722507

Also by Sacha de Black

Buy  the books separately or combined: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sacha-Black/e/B072BQ2MP7

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sacha-Black/e/B072BQ2MP7

And find more reviews and follow Sacha on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16173650.Sacha_Black

Connect to Sacha via her website: https://www.sachablack.co.uk/

Thank you for popping in this morning and it would be great if you could share the news from these authors in the bookstore. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – A Christmas image and poem from Bette A. Stevens


Happy Christmas everyone and here is a festive image and poem from Bette A. Stevens to celebrate the day.

fresh-fallen-crystals-poem-bas-2016

Conifer branches adorned in winter’s white called out to this writer: “Capture a photo, we’re all spruced up in our new attire!” from near the barn’s entrance. I simply had to pen their remembrance in a poem—

Fresh Fallen Crystals.

Wishing you all a Season of Wonder!

~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

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

About Amazing Matilda

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.
In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

Get your FREE Authorgraph for your digital copy from author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens at http://www.4writersandreaders.com

The most recent review for Amazing Matilda

What a delightful book for children. A tale of a caterpillar who wants to fly and her interaction will all the creatures around her who encourage and support her. Toad and Rabbit both tell Matilda their stories of how they achieved their goals through trying over and over again. Sensible Sparrow advises Matilda to be patient and wait to see what happens. There is also a lovely learning message a caterpillar’s journey to becoming a butterfly.

This book is packed full of beautiful hand drawn illustrations which will delight any child.

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

My thank you to Bette and wishing you a most wonderful day — Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – The Christmas Story in Scripture and Song…by Bette A. Stevens


As we approach Christmas Day, Bette A. Stevens offers us a wonderful piece of music from Pentatonix.. Mary, Did you Know?

 The Christmas Story in Scripture and Song…by Bette A. Stevens

For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 (KJV)

Lyrics

Mary Did You Know?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God
Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know
The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am
Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know

Songwriters: Lamont Savory / Buddy Greene / Mark Lowry / Courick Clarke / William Barclay / Wayne Buchanan

Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

May the “Hope and joy found in The Christ Child” be yours at Christmas and always. ~ Bette A. Stevens

©Bette Stevens 2015

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

About Dog Bone Soup

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for Dog Bone Soup

A delightful story on October 1, 2017

In preparing to write this review, I read a couple of other reviews of this book on Amazon and Goodreads. I was interested to note one comment that likened this book to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I can see why this comparison has been drawn as Bette A. Stevens main character, Shawn Daniels, and Huckleberry Finn are both boys dogged by poverty and abusive and alcoholic fathers. Both boys are also fairly resourceful and have survival skills.

For me, however, that was where the comparison ended. Stevens depicts the Daniels family as being tight knit despite their unfortunate father. The children and their Mother work together to salvage their situation to the best extent they can. I really felt sad for the Mother as she was a victim of her own hormones and emotions and could not find the strength to break away from her selfish and abusive husband. She remained in a downward spiralling situation and ended up having a fourth child which was really unwise.

Shawn, the eldest child, does his best to be hard working, industrious and do well at school. He is a role model for his younger brother, Willie, and two younger sisters. Shawn tries to make the best of his situation and grasp opportunities that come his way.

I found this story to be very poignant and moving and Stevens’ writing is captivating. Despite some disturbing descriptions in the book I still found it to be a very uplifting book. Highly recommended.

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

My thanks to Bette for sharing this beautiful song and her sentiments which I echo.. Merry Christmas..

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Bette A. Stevens, Phillip T. Stephens, Julie Lawford, John Maberry and Annette Rochelle Aben


Welcome to the first of the Christmas Book Fairs and books that would make wonderful gifts for readers across the genres.. It is also my way of saying thank you to the authors in the bookstore who have been in and out of the blog and so supportive over the year.

The first author to showcase is children’s author Bette A. Stevens whose books received wonderful reviews. Here is Dog Bone Soup with one of its recent reviews.

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

A delightful story on October 1, 2017

In preparing to write this review, I read a couple of other reviews of this book on Amazon and Goodreads. I was interested to note one comment that likened this book to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I can see why this comparison has been drawn as Bette A. Stevens main character, Shawn Daniels, and Huckleberry Finn are both boys dogged by poverty and abusive and alcoholic fathers. Both boys are also fairly resourceful and have survival skills.

For me, however, that was where the comparison ended. Stevens depicts the Daniels family as being tight knit despite their unfortunate father. The children and their Mother work together to salvage their situation to the best extent they can. I really felt sad for the Mother as she was a victim of her own hormones and emotions and could not find the strength to break away from her selfish and abusive husband. She remained in a downward spiralling situation and ended up having a fourth child which was really unwise.

Shawn, the eldest child, does his best to be hard working, industrious and do well at school. He is a role model for his younger brother, Willie, and two younger sisters. Shawn tries to make the best of his situation and grasp opportunities that come his way.

I found this story to be very poignant and moving and Stevens’ writing is captivating. Despite some disturbing descriptions in the book I still found it to be a very uplifting book. Highly recommended.

Read all the reviews and buy the book at this universal link : http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ

Also by Bette A. Stevens

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

And on 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 via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

The next author that I would like to feature and who provided us with some wonderful lifestyle posts during the summer is Julie Lawford with her book Singled Out.

About the Book

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

One of the excellent reviews for Singled Out.

Wilma Lettings 5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 18 June 2017

A very well written thriller set during a holiday trip to Turkey, organised for singles. You might assume that this could be chick lit, but that would do the character depth and writing style grave injustice. While certainly appealing to female audiences this novel doesn’t limit itself to pure light-hearted romantic interests but visits darker sides of the dating game and crime.

Using alternate narrative strands and voices we get insight into the characters, but we’re shown enough to be drawn deep into these characters.
Things are not as they seem and while you have an incling what is about to happen, be assured that there are always surprises waiting for you.

Not the kind of book I had originally expected but in fact, a much better one. Very good!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Read more reviews and follow Julie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13411991.Julie_Lawford

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website: http://julielawford.com

Another author who is extremely supportive on Twitter is Phillip T. Stephens and here is his book Cigerets, Guns & Beer.

About the book

Dodd breaks up a convenience store robbery when his car breaks down in Sweet Water Falls, Texas. What’s the thanks he gets? The sheriff won’t let him leave, the car lot can’t find the parts and everybody wants him for something—sales pitch, church membership, and even stud pony.

But most of all, it seems a family named Dodd were shot down robbing the bank in 1949 and the half million they stole remains missing. Everyone thinks Dodd returned to dig up the loot and no one intends to let him leave until he finds it—along with (or so the legends go) a long lost flying saucer.

Here is one of the most recent reviews.

The cover of Cigerets, Guns & Beer by Phillip T. Stevens catches the eye immediately. Beer and cigarettes are present, necessary for any good breakfast. While a gun is not displayed, bullet holes are, perhaps from the night before. A reader might predict that this will be a “good ol’ boy” novel replete with rednecks. The reader would be correct.

This novel will make those who grew up in a small town nostalgic; a place where there might be only one law enforcement officer who also read water and electric meters, sold alcohol in defiance of Sunday “blue laws,” was a source of under-the-table porn, and served as a de facto judge deciding what town residents could and could not get away with.

This was the case with Sweet Water Falls, Texas. Joe Bob Meeker was the law. Brother Ralph Meeker was the mayor and JP (Justice of the Peace). Ralph also owned a general store, a car dealership, an insurance agency, and a hotel. Both men along with banker Mal Rafferty completely controlled the town. All served on the town council and exercised rezoning authority to force businesses to relocate or cease operations. The three would then buy the pieces left of the defunct property and open the businesses again under a new name and ownership.

The three men had gotten greedy, some of their business dealings were fraudulent. Up to now, geographic isolation had blocked an investigation. A series of robberies and shootings had never been thoroughly investigated by anyone other than Sheriff Joe Bob. An impartial investigation would have placed the sheriff in the category of a suspect. Any small business owners left in Sweet Water were under control of one of the three powerful men; they were forced to follow any rules formulated by the trio. There was resentment but no organized opposition had surfaced. That was about to change.

Dodd was just passing through town on the way to his new job as a partner in a law firm. The township that employed him as an intern lawyer didn’t want him to continue after his parole was up. The idea of a lawyer who obtained his education in prison was bad for publicity. Dodd was moving on to join a firm at the invitation of a former colleague. He hadn’t planned the gas leak that necessitated car repair and a stop in Sweet Water. It was just coincidence that more than decades previously Sweet Water was a town with history for a family named Dodd. Three brothers named Dodd had robbed a bank of USD 500 000. Two of the brothers were shot and killed and the third got away to hide the money before being shot and killed days later. Sheriff Joe Bob, possibly with the collusion of Ralph, had shot the first two Dodd brothers. The money was never found.

Dodd entered the town to repair his car. He entered Ralph’s store to buy supplies as he continued his trip. The store was being robbed by a nervous 17-year-old and Dodd, an ex-convict, decided to defuse the situation by recounting to the teenager the joys of prison life while attempting to convince him to surrender. Successful in foiling the robbery, Dodd was now stuck in the town until a statement could be prepared for Sheriff Joe Bob for adjudication by brother Ralph. This would take a few days. Meanwhile, town residents would speculate on the coincidence of a Dodd reappearing in the town. Was he there to find the money? Or was he there to find the UFO?

After the initial set-up for the story, all eyes are on Dodd. Especially female eyes. He either has sex with every female or is invited to but turns them down. It seems there is little else to do in a small town. They seem to be the frontline agents for finding out if he is related to the Dodd robber family, a claim Dodd will deny throughout the book. Dodd (first name) Dodd (last name) middle initial D. will apply home style wisdom combined with prison savvy in an attempt to right wrongs in this thoroughly corrupt community. He might even look for the missing money as he tries to find the UFO.

This book has laugh-out-loud understated humor in its description of small town insular life. There are several surprises to keep the reader from putting the book down. Although there seems to be a lot of sexual activity going on, offensive language is MOSTLY absent. Readers will only have to shield their sensibilities for approximately six pages of the 376-page novel.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cigerets-Guns-Beer-Phillip-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00QLI1Q3K

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cigerets-Guns-Beer-Phillip-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00QLI1Q3K

A selection of books also by Phillip T. Stephens

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Phillip-Stephens/e/B0091XK7HS

Read more reviews and follow Phillip on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/583139.Phillip_T_Stephens

Connect with Phillip via his website: https://ptstephens.com/

The next author with news is John Maberry with his 10th Anniversary edition of his book Waiting for Westmoreland.

About the book

Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. It’s all about cause and effect. Events happen not by chance but as a result of karma. Unseen connections have surprising consequences. This knowledge comes in the nick of time, as he faces his most serious situation since the perils of Vietnam, the threat of death from a prospective father-in-law. He must take responsibility for the matter, despite being unaware of the underlying reason for it, reform himself and seek only her father’s happiness.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

One man’s journey from chaos to inner peace. on November 4, 2017

Here we have a book that is much more than memoir, and more life journey told (and written) exceedingly well and with great courage. If the writer’s mandate is to ‘open a vein’, Maberry has opened that vein and allowed whatever flowed to fill this work. From his background in hardscrabble Minnesota, enduring the loss of a parent, then for all intents and purposes the loss of the other, the author describes his various efforts to carve a niche for himself. Just as his efforts appear to be paying off, he’s found a companion, started school, navigated his way through the shoals of early adulthood, when the Selective Service System came calling and he was drafted.

Change scenes to Vietnam in 1967-68, and Maberry begins again to sort out the fictions of America’s involvement in South Asia Vs the realities of war: No clear purpose for being there; chauvinistic treatment of Vietnamese people, especially the abuse of women; and a lifer sergeant who embodied everything wrong with the American military. Maberry returns from Vietnam disillusioned, cynical and without real purpose. Indeed, it’s a mistake to refer to Waiting for Westmoreland as simply a war memoir. It’s much more one man’s journey from chaos and the vicissitudes of life, to finding inner peace through Buddhism, something that surprised even the author, until he saw how the practice worked in his own life.

The book does have a tendency to be dismissive of various U.S. institutions and traditions, certain presidents, and other public servants, and often with good reason. By way of disclosure, this reader too is a Vietnam Vet, and I, too, was astonished, as Maberry asserts, that the American people reelected Richard Nixon. Looking past this judgmental assessment, and reading this book with an open mind, and an open heart, reveals a path that perhaps many veterans of America’s ill advised war in Vietnam might take.

Five stars, and I don’t do that often. Byron Edgington, author of A Vietnam Anthem. A Vietnam Anthem: What The War Gave Me

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3U

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3U

Also by John Maberry

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Follow John Maberry on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210538.John_Maberry

Connect to John via his website: http://waitforwest.eaglepeakpress.com/

Annette Rochelle Aben has been very busy in the run up to Christmas with two new books on the shelves. Annette has been a part of this blog for almost four years and a more supportive and generous person you could not connect to.  Here is her newest book which is Angel Messages Two: Songs of the Heart

About Angel Messages Two

The songs of the hearts of Angels guide us, lift us and fill our lives with hope and love.

They harmonize with our heartbeats, ask us to trust and remind us that we are precious.

They call to us tenderly, helping us find comfort. Encouragement is but a request away.

How is this (and more) all possible? Because the songs of the heart are pure love. When our hearts are singing the songs of love, we connect with Angels. Open your heart to connection with Angels, with Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart.
Unlike a book that takes a story and divides it into chapters, Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is a book of messages (songs) that can be read one right after another or one at a time. From day to day, a different message may speak to you. Open this book to find what is perfect for you (or someone else) at that moment.

The pictures in this book, remind you that Angels appear in a variety of forms while the Tanka brings to life, the deeper message each of the photographs.

Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to connect with Angels as much as it is perfect for anyone who already has a relationship with Angels.

The messages are presented in poetry that we call Tanka. Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book help us to be aware of our deep, abiding connection to energies we might not be able to see but can feel in our hearts.

To be in the presence of Angels is soothing, warm; reminiscent of being around the most supportive energy you can imagine. It can also be energizing, electric and indescribably emotional. When an Angel makes its presence known, it will be when you most need the confirmation that you are not alone. You always have a home in an Angel’s heart and they are excited to be at home in your heart.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Messages-Two-songs-heart-ebook/dp/B077ZCF2ZX

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Messages-Two-songs-heart-ebook/dp/B077ZCF2ZX

And another perfect gift for poetry lovers for Christmas; the other new collection from Annette Rochelle AbenA Tanka Picture Book.

An early review for the collection

This beautiful little book will warm your heart and stir your soul. A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben is a treasure trove of inspiration, filled with picturesque images overlaid by touching verse. The author explains that Tanka means “short song.” I find this the perfect description, considering I felt my heart singing while I read. Compassion, encouragement, and gratitude create a texture and mood that will leave you feeling both peaceful and exhilarated. Whether your spirit needs fortifying or you’re simply looking for a splendid gift, this book is sure to deliver.

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

 

Connect to Annette via her blog/website: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I am sure that you will find plenty here for gifts for yourself and for family and friends. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Paulette Mahurin, Teagan Riordain Geneviene, Bette A. Stevens and Jena C. Henry


We have a full house today with four authors celebrating recent reviews for their work.. fantastic.

The first book to be updated today is set in one of the darkest times in our modern history. There are still people alive who remember this time in their lives all to well. But they are few and it is up to the storytellers to keep their memories alive. The Seven Year Dress by Paulette Mahurin

51sem6psgll-_uy250_About the book

One of the darkest times in human history was the insane design and execution to rid the world of Jews and “undesirables.” At the hands of the powerful evil madman Adolf Hitler, families were ripped apart and millions were slaughtered. Persecution, torture, devastation, and enduring the unthinkable remained for those who lived.

This is the story of one woman who lived to tell her story. This is a narrative of how a young beautiful teenager, Helen Stein, and her family were torn asunder, ultimately bringing her to Auschwitz. It was there she suffered heinous indignity at the hands of the SS. It was also there, in that death camp, she encountered compassion, selfless acts of kindness, and friendship.

Written by the award-winning, best-selling author of His Name Was Ben, comes a story of the resilience of the human spirit that will leave you thinking about Helen Stein and The Seven Year Dress for years to come after the last page is shut

One of the latest reviews for the book.

A Riveting Read on September 22, 2017

The story of the Seven Year Dress is told through Jewish holocaust victim and survivor, Helen, as she shares her story with her new tenant about the degradation, starvation and brutality she witnessed and suffered from the Nazis.

Mahurin does a riveting job of capturing the climate of Nazi Germany just before the war broke out, depicting Helen and her family, and her one non Jewish friend who risked his own life to save Helen and her family from being captured and taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. We’re taken right into the emotions of Helen’s plight. Humiliation, inhumanity, fear and uncertainty of living one more day became the new life for Helen, once a seemingly happy, middle-class girl becoming stripped of everything she had, knew and loved from her former life before that fateful night in November 1938.

This heart-wrenching tale of destruction and devastation and an unfaltering fight to survive will have you eager to keep reading, despite the unblemished truths of the violence and descriptions of what Helen witnessed and endured.

I applaud Mahurin for writing this telling of a demoralizing tale of the human spirit of those who fought to survive despite all odds against them – heroic efforts to remain alive despite having no reason left to live except the desire to live.

I couldn’t stop reading this book and eagerly awaited any opportunity I’d get to pick it up again to learn how Helen survived. It’s also a good reminder about how easily a country can become brainwashed by false propaganda. I’m am looking forward to reading more books by this author. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, I highly recommend this book and author.

Read some of the 326 reviews for the Seven Year Dress and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Year-Dress-Novel/dp/0988846861/

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Year-Dress-Novel/dp/0988846861/

Also by Paulette Mahurin

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Read all the reviews and BUY the books: https://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

Profits from Paulette’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Connect to Paulette:https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

The next author to have received a great review recently is Teagan Riordain Geneviene with her latest release Murder at the Bijou.

About Murder at the Bijou

Long ago I developed a writing exercise. I would ask friends to give me three completely random things. Then I would write until I had mentioned all the things. I brought that exercise to my blog, but I had the readers send me their things. I let the random things drive every detail of a serial story, setting, plot, and characters. That resulted in The Three Things Serial Story, which gave birth to this culinary mystery. However, this time the “things” are food related — or ingredients.

As with the first serial, Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I is a spontaneously written, pantser story. I let the “ingredients” readers sent each week drive every aspect of a new serial story. This is the “bookized” version of that serial.

This time the Jazz Age setting is Savannah, Georgia where our flapper, Pip is “sentenced” to live with her grandmother and learn to cook. Pip gets caught up in a layered mystery that includes bootleggers, G-men, and the varied challenges of being a young woman in changing times. She meets new friends including some animal characters.

If you have not read The Three Things Serial Story, be warned. This adventure contains a bit of a spoiler, but does not go into detail about it.

An early review for the book

This is a very enjoyable murder story set in the 1920s. Pip, Granny Phanny and a whole bunch of alliterated characters populate the story of surprisingly strong suspense with equally surprising turns of events.
This is hugely enjoyable and definitely recommended to anyone with a sense of fun and humour.

I loved this book when it was published in parts on the blog and loved it even more re-reading it as a whole in one sitting. Yes, one sitting.

I only now realised just how much work had gone into the individual parts. I often forgot from one week to the next what certain references mean or what they allude to. The novel is hugely enjoyable and a fun read thanks to many quirky expressions, usage of words off the beaten track, fabulous character names and many more delicious ingredients.
The writing is very original and the story line is fun and always manages to surprise you.
That’s in part because of the randomness of the supplies ingredients, but also due to the author’s creative powers.

I’m so glad this was released as novel so I can enjoy the continuity and appreciate just how well composed this ‘fragmented’ story actually is.

Murder at the Bijou is available in paperback and eBook: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B074S5ZK7L/

and: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1974544273

Also by Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

Read the reviews, buy the books and find out more about Teagan Geneviene: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

Connect to Teagan via her blog: https://teagansbooks.com/

Next author with a book that continues to receive outstanding reviews is Bette A. Stevens and Pure Trash: The Story

About Pure Trash: The Story

It’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel DOG BONE SOUP. The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!

In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great day. Shawn is sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd. This is a story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied (and not just by kids). It may redefine your definition of bullying. If you were a child who was thought of as “different” in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its synonyms. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social status of a dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

One of the recent reviews

Great!  on September 23, 2017

“The year is 1955. Nine-year-old Shawn Daniels is ready to head out on a Saturday adventure with his younger brother Willie. They’re off to search for trash to turn into treasure. It’s going to be a great day.”

What a great time it was…but not for everyone. These boys are from a very poor family. Their Dad is a big drinker.

When Willie has an accident on his bike, Shawn turns to one of the nice christian ladies from church. But, like most of the town, she looks down her nose at the boys because of their social status. Although she does help little Willie, she is anything but kind.

“No decent upbringing.” Mrs. Pendergast said, “Filth, pure filth,”

Pure Trash is well written and a great tease. I can’t wait to read the full book and see how the sweet little guys fare.

Read some of the 56 reviews for the book and buy: https://www.amazon.com/PURE-TRASH-Bette-A-Stevens-ebook/dp/B00EH0RV6K/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TRASH-Historical-Fiction-Short-prequel-ebook/dp/B00EH0RV6K

Also by Bette A. Stevens

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 via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

To round off this packed post today, Jena C. Henry with a recent review for the second book in The Golden Age of Charlie: RSVP.

About The Golden Age of Charli: RSVP

Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties, and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers, and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding.

Pud is happily cruising down the retirement path that, for him, leads straight to the golf course. While Charli spends her days at home cleaning out closets and the basement, she yearns to gaze deeply into Pud’s blue eyes and remember all the reasons why she fell in love with him thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the only thing Pud is eying is the next fairway. Knowing there is more to savor in retirement than silver-hair shampoos, senior discounts, and hernia surgery, Charli embarks on a quest to do whatever it takes to spend retirement in the embrace of the man she loves. But is it too late for happily ever after?

In this humorous novel, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other’s hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt.

The most recent review from Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books Blog:     https://www.bitsaboutbooks.net/golden-age-of-charli-rsvp-jena-c-henry/

I love the outset of this novel and the insights into the daily life of Charli and Pud. What an endearing couple! But then again .. Charli is the main protagonist and she has got everything her heart desires: two healthy children, a loving husband, no financial problems or health issues to worry about… When she sees a car she falls in love with, she just goes and buys it. When she finds a project to work on, the old photographs in the attic, she buys the equipment she needs to digitalise them. I wanted to shake Charli and tell her to wake up and realise that she has got so much – and that just like her husband, she should also have prepared for his retirement. Sometimes, I felt there was too much detail in the descriptions. Charli’s best trait is her perseverance and love for her family. I was touched by their adventure (Pud’s idea!) and the way they reach out to everyone in the family, young and old.

Read all the reviews for the book and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Age-Charli-RSVP-ebook/dp/B0157KR7RQ

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Age-Charli-RSVP/dp/1491769637

Also by Jena C. Henry

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jena-C.-Henry/e/B014PLDN12

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jena-C.-Henry/e/B014PLDN12

Read more reviews and follow Jena on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14254103.Jena_C_Henry

Connect to Jena via her website/blog: http://www.jenabooks.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have news to share about a terrific new review then please let me know at sally.cronin@moyhill.com Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Bette A. Stevens, Stevie Turner and Andrew Joyce


The first author with a review is Bette A. Stevens whose book Dog Bone Soup continues to receive excellent feedback.

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

The most recent review for the book on Amazon US.

Dog Bone Soup is a delightful read. First of all, the writing itself is mesmerizing. Author Stevens creates scenes with rare skill. Simple phrases and sentences, such as “The Buick was smokin’ and field grass was flyin’” and “The days we spent…flew off faster than a sweet dream…,” bring the reader into the world of the Daniels family.

The story is familiar, perhaps not the details, but the struggles of a family to stay together under notable duress, is a theme known to all. I couldn’t help but think of my own childhood as I followed the Daniels through the years. Poverty’s devastation reaches into the hearts of all those afflicted, and Bette Stevens captures its grip powerfully.

I highly recommend this book to all.

Read all the reviews and buy the book : http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/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 via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

The next author with a recent review is Stevie Turner for her book An Rather Unusual Romance.

About the book

When Erin Mason gets a divorce, she’s left with two teenage sons to care for. Soon after, the doctor diagnoses her with cancer, and her world falls apart.

Not too far away, someone else – Alan Beaumont – is suffering a similar fate.

Their paths come together in this inspiring tale, partially based on actual events. A Rather Unusual Romance shows how love can flourish in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

The most recent review for the book

A slice of life presents itself in this novel. A straight forward read that deals with the aftermath of divorce, nearly grown children and a new romance under rather difficult premises. Cancer is a terrible disease under any circumstances. Stevie Turner provides us with great insight into papillary thyroid cancer. She brings us into the world of Erin and Alan who are thrown together while trying to cure their illness or at least bring their cancer under control. It’s a fast read and thoughtfully written. The story leaves the reader with hope.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Rather-Unusual-Romance-Stevie-Turner-ebook/dp/B01M1GWZW2

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU

Follow Stevie Turner on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172051.Stevie_Turner

Connect to Stevie via her website: http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/

The final author today with a recent review is Andrew Joyce with his historical novel Yellow Hair… I have read the book and can recommend.

About Yellow Hair

Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.

Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage written about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in this fact-based tale of fiction were real people and the author uses their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.
This is American history.

The most recent review for the book

A Native Truth Unveiled on August 27, 2017

In this gripping historical novel, Andrew Joyce threads the fictitious tale of a White man’s life-changing events through the factual tapestry of the devastation suffered by the Plains Indians at the hands of the American government. The White man is Jacob Ariesen, who becomes known as Hin Zi or Yellow Hair.

It is Spring of 1850 in North America. Imagine you are a member of a wagon train of one hundred and forty-four White people going West in search of a better life. You encounter overwhelming hardship and are rescued by Indians. You are treated well and with respect.

Now imagine you are a Plains Indian. Soldiers invade your land at the behest of their government. They do not ask your permission. They do not treat you with respect. They look upon your people as savages and presume all you hold dear is theirs for the taking. They force you to sign their treaties, by which they trick you into selling acre after acre of your land in exchange for gold. You tell them you have no use of the yellow metal, but they deceive you into trusting you can use it to barter for horses, tools, food, and other necessities. They employ deception time and again when their Congress rewrites the treaties – without your knowledge or consent – and drastically cuts the agreed-to purchase price. They literally steal your land, upon which soldiers build forts and settlers build houses. The Wasichus (Whites) trap and hunt indigenous wildlife into near extinction, forcing you to become dependent on the American government for your very existence. You once were proud, fierce, and free. You now are demoralized, displaced, and angry.

In this sober and eye-opening tale, Joyce strips away the facade of righteousness brandished by White military and political figures, people whose names appear dominant in American history. He lays bare the greed and fear that fueled their ignorant beliefs and heinous deeds, not the least of which was the bloody slaughter and mutilation of women, children, and old ones.

Noted Native American figures, presented as one-dimensional savage people in White history books, become fully developed animated characters under the pen of Andrew Joyce. They jump off the page, grab and captivate the reader. Among these are Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who pull us into their world and show us first-hand the effects of severe hardship coupled with dehumanization.

This was the perfect book to read while traveling across the United States by train and following the Colorado River for 230-plus miles. I imagined covered wagons caught in deadly currents that drowned all life forms as they carried them downriver. I imagined the battle at Wounded Knee Creek. I imagined the Battle of the Little Bighorn fought on the banks of the river that lent its name to this historical event. But most of all, as the train moved through mountain gorges and territories not traversed by automobile or person, I imagined a time when life was lived by the seasons, close to Mother Earth. My heart broke as distant memories of such a life played across my mind like a slide show.

This book is a page-turner that kept me glued from beginning to end. It is very well-written and chock-full of engaging characters, be they honorable or deplorable. I appreciated the humor Joyce attributed to the Indians, which he sprinkled throughout the novel. This added an inherent humanizing dimension to the indigenous peoples of whom Americans learn so little in school.

I also appreciated that the author intermittently but consistently focused on Native American spiritual beliefs. My favorite line was: “It is a good day to die.” In what way is that spiritual? you ask. Well… You’ll just have to read the book and figure it out for yourself. Hoka hey!

Read all the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Hair-Andrew-Joyce-ebook/dp/B01LXOXHBI

Read more reviews and follow Andrew on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242284.Andrew_Joyce

Also by Andrew Joyce

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BUY all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Joyce/e/B00EUCFDTM

61uytgjxb0l-_ux250_Connect to Andrew: https://andrewjoyce.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping by today.. and I hope you will head over and check these authors and their books out. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord End of Party Playlist -Requests from Pamela Wight, Jemima Pett, Noelle Granger, Judy Martin, John Howell, Carmen Stefanescu, Lucinda Clarke, Bette Stevens and Darlene Foster


I was so pleased with the response to the party and those who took part in the quiz and left their links. I did manage to feature some of the requests but there was simply not enough time to include everyone… So… I will be sharing those guests and their links and music choices in the Blogger Daily slot for the rest of the week.

Here was the Quiz…

  • Which is your favourite recording artist or band
  • Pizza or Pasta
  • Favourite Film
  • Person you would most like to meet Dead or Alive

I will get to the music in a moment, but first some recipes for those of you who chose Pasta… courtesy of Silvia’s Cucina… I used to make this when I was in my 20s for dinner parties and it is so easy to make and delicous.

Image by Siliva’s Cucina.

Home-made pasta is the ultimate Sunday Lunch treat in Italy.

Forget about a roast beast with all the trimmings, we need our share of starchy goodness, home-made, of course.

From scratch, goes without saying!

Naturally you can use store-bough dried cannelloni, but the flavor and texture won’t be as luxurious.

And, after all, this is Sunday lunch we are talking about, it’s your declaration of love to your family and those lucky friends invited to your table. It’s well worth a bit of effort.

Just make them do the dishes…

Get the recipe for this delicious cannelloni dish which is one of the first that I learnt to cook in my 20s: https://silviascucina.net/2012/04/11/cannelloni-with-ricotta-and-spinach/

Now time to share some of the guests to the party with their favourite music.. Quite a few opted for the classic pop favourites including The Beatles,  ABBA and Queen…three of my favourites too. I will try and find a track from the most popular requests that I hope you enjoy and also post as many of the individual requests too.

I will add any book links and social media and if you are not already following then this is your chance.

Pamela S. Wight

Me? I’m a quiet stay-at-homer. Glass of wine while I listen to the Beatles – I suppose Yesterday is my favorite song of theirs – and sup on my spaghetti & meatballs. Then I watch (for the 14th time? 15th?) GONE WITH THE WIND. In my imagination, Gandhi is sitting with me, cross-legged, and chanting a mantra.

Read the reviews and buy Pamela’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6
https://roughwighting.net/
http://facebook.com/roughwighting
http://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelawight

Jemima Pett

It’s an age thing…used to be Beatles, then possibly Yes, occasionally Ralph McTell, these days, probably Bryn Terfel! One word… oh :blush:
Pizza or Pasta: Pasta. More variety (since I’m a veggie)
Favourite Film: Local Hero. 🙂
Person you would most like to meet Dead or Alive: I thought for a long time about this and couldn’t think of anyone I’d really like to meet; I’d rather stick with my image of them. And I don’t want to meet anyone dead, because, you know – icky!

Discover all of Jemima’s books and read the reviews at: https://www.amazon.com/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/
Blog: http://jemimapett.com/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jemima_pett

N.A. Granger

Noelle contributed the delicious Lobster Thermidor for the party and I did feature that but not her music choice which was also for The Beatles.

You can find Noelle’s books and read the reviews at: https://www.amazon.com/N.A.-Granger/e/B00DN6I8GQ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rhebrewster
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nagranger/
Blog: https://saylingaway.wordpress.com/

Here for the Beatles fans is Here Comes the Sun from the Abbey Road Album : https://www.amazon.com/Abbey-Road-Beatles/dp/B0041KVZ1I

Now time to feature some Queen with several guests voting as their favourite.  Mary Smith is a fan and I shared Don’t Stop Me Now in the last party post.

Judy E. Martin

Now here are my favourites: Band has to be Queen or Meatloaf, Pasta , canneloni, Fave film has got to be ‘Grease’ I have watched it so many times.
Person I would most like to meet would probably be Oscar Wilde, I LOVE his razor sharp wit as I do Stephen Fry’s too!

Buy Judy’s book at her author page and read the reviews. https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01CPOB0M0
Blog: https://www.edwinasepisodes.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/judy.martin.edwinasepisodes
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Edwinasepisodes

John W. Howell

Which is your favourite recording artist or band – Queen
Pizza or Pasta – Both
Favourite Film – Ghost
Person you would most like to meet Dead or Alive. – Kurt Vonnegut

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C
Blog: https://johnwhowell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowellWave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Carmen Stefansecu

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Mistress-Carmen-Stefanescu-ebook/dp/B06XNW7RXD
Blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Carmen_Books
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carmen-Stefanescu-Books/499245716760283

Lucinda E. Clarke

Discover all of Lucinda’s books and read the reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

Blog: http://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com
Web page: http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

Here is A Crazy Little Think Called Love by Queen and I recommend this Platinum set of three Albums of their greatest hits -https://www.amazon.com/Platinum-Collection-Greatest-Hits-III/dp/B00006JIA4

 

Now time for a little solo action and to kick this off is Bette A. Stevens who is fan like many of us of Josh Grobin

Bette A. Stevens

Favorite recording artist: Josh Groban
Pizza or Pasta? Shrimp Scampi & Linguini
Favorite Film: “Sound of Music”
Person you would most like to meet Dead or Alive.: Emily Dickinson
Read the reviews and buy Bette’s Books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBetteAStevens
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteAStevens

Here is one of my favourite tracks from Josh Groban – To Where you Are – You can find this track in this album: https://www.amazon.com/Collection-Josh-Groban/dp/B001LGB4SY

And finally today a request from children’s author Darlene Foster for her favourite Artist Bryan Adams.

Darlene Foster

Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

And for Darlene here is Everything I Do and you can find this on the album The Best of Me: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Me-Bryan-Adams/dp/B0000667RO

Thank you for dropping in today and I will be sharing other guests and their music choices over the next few days.  Thanks Sally.