Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Fantasy – Richard Dee, D.Wallace Peach, C.S. Boyack, Vashti Quiroz- Vega, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair and today fantasy books that would make great gifts for fans of this genre

The first book that would make a great gift  is by Richard Dee.. a Fantasy YA/Teen Sci-fi adventure – The Syk’m.

About the book

Behave, or the Syk’m will come and take you away.

That was the threat hanging over my childhood, the terrifying punishment that made us all obedient.
As children, we were told that the Syk’m watched over us. Should we misbehave, they could do unimaginable things.

Because we were young and knew no better, the mere mention of their name was enough to control us. We went to bed, minded our manners, stopped our shouting.

Although the Syk’m were mythical creatures, never seen, we all believed in their power over us.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I thought that I had outgrown the unseen terrors of my childhood. I thought that I no longer believed in the power of the Syk’m.

Then the day came when I discovered that the Syk’m were real. The day they found me. Their message was clear. Despite everything I had imagined, they needed my help.

It was the day I discovered that they were not the monsters we had all believed them to be.

There were others in the universe.

One of the recent reviews for the book

kayleigh whittle 5.0 out of 5 stars YA Fantasy, nailed  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 October 2021

Not my first dip in to YA Fantasy, unlike the author, who has really impressed me with this debut into the genre. The great thing about fantasy as a genre is that nothing is off limits, anything that you can imagine is possible. Skander had always been brought up to fear those called The Syk’m, behave or they would come and take yiy away. Hors Lawis is on the cusp of manhood and after thousands of years peace on skander doesn’t have much to look forward to and life is well, pretty boring. That is until he unwittingly meets the beautiful and mysterious Enuna. Curious yet suspicious Hors allows Enuna took take him to her world, Syk’m and the city of Bokon. There all of what he was made to believe as a child is brought in to question and in fact the Syk’m simply aren’t what he was told.

Needing his help to save their world, Hors goes on a daring and exciting adventure of discovery and self growth. The world building in this book is effortless, it flows so well and the characters have been well thought out and executed. All fans of fantasy will enjoy this magical, delightful and exciting story of self worth, acceptance and friendship.

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1 Facebook:Richard Dee Author

The next book is by another fantasy favourite D.Wallace Peach..for her stand alone fantasy The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

About the book

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Samantha 5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!  Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2021

It’s a good thing that I started reading this on a weekend because I couldn’t put it down once I started. The story’s plot gripped me from the very first pages and wouldn’t let go. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that there’s a lot going on and it was at the edge of my seat many times.

One thing I really like about it is that it’s a standalone fantasy novel. Those are really rare these days. It’s on the shorter side, too.

The setting is quite unusual: mermaids who have the power to wreck ships and sailors who can make bargains with those magical sea creatures. They are called “merrows” in the book. I suppose this is to differentiate them from the usual mermaids or sirens of folktales. There’s also a floating city made of derelict ships.

The main character is the titular Ferryman. The blurb already talks about him, so I won’t paraphrase that. I’ll just say that he is an interesting MC. The other important characters are likewise interesting, but to me the strength of this book is not in the characters but in the plot and setting.

The story’s pace is quite fast which I really liked. There’s hardly any time to breathe as the characters solve one problem only to encounter another, more difficult one.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the setting and the plot immensely. The writing is descriptive and lovely.  

A selection of books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

The next author who has this genre nailed is C.S. Boyack for Lunar Boogie (The Hat Book 4)

About the book

Lizzie and the hat are back in action, only this time they’re up against the most tragic monster of all, a werewolf.

This adventure is more like hunting an animal, and the werewolf is unlikely to come to any of their musical performances. This puts Lizzie out in the dark corners and wooded areas of the city. It may be more beneficial to get the monster to hunt Lizzie than to stalk him on his own turf. All she has to do is be quicker on the trigger than the wolf is on his feet.

At the same time, the police think they’re after a serial killer. Lizzie tries to keep them alive while also keeping them out of her way. As the body count rises, so do the pressures. It doesn’t help that people are blaming Lizzie and the hat for the killings. This involves an urban myth about them that the locals call Hellpox.

Pull on your boogie shoes and join the hunt. Designed as an afternoon read, this one is tons of supernatural fun.

A recent review for the book

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars A Werewolf on a Killing Spree! The Perfect Halloween Read!  Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2021

In Lunar Boogie, Lizzie and The Hat find themselves hunting for the notorious “Sausage Maker.” This time, the dynamic duo is up against a werewolf on a killing spree. They bring lieutenant Joe Yoder in to see if he can make sense of the crimes.

The first death happens during a full moon, and all they find are a few scattered body parts with a lot of blood smeared around the scene. There is some nasty business afoot, and The Hat didn’t want Lizzie to get involved. But they are in the thick of it and even the police don’t know what to think. It looks like a serial killer is on the loose!

I liked the character of the police lieutenant, Joe Yoder, who is grieving the recent death of his wife. He often sniffs a pomander soaked in his wife’s Emeraude perfume, which he smells when he wants to feel her near or if he wishes to communicate with her. He’s an interesting character. And I was thrilled when Kevin, the lisping vampire, made another appearance.

One thing to note is that this book is not as lighthearted as the previous volumes. The supernatural is drawing Lizzie further and further into the darkness of their world. I took this as a precursor to what is still to come in future novels.

Lunar Boogie is a stand-alone book. You don’t have to read the series to know what is going on… but why would you miss out on all the fun from the previous books? The banter between The Hat and Lizzie is enough to keep you reading long into the night!  

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

C. S. Boyack, Buy: Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Craig: Goodreads – blog:Cold Hand BoyackTwitter: @Virgilante

The next author with a popular fantasy series is Vashti Quiroz-Vega with  The Fall of Lilith (Fantasy Angels Series)
About the book

In The Fall of Lilith, Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts an irresistible new take on heaven and hell that boldly lays bare the passionate, conflicted natures of God’s first creations: the resplendent celestial beings known as angels.

If you think you know their story, think again.

Endowed with every gift of mind, body, and spirit, the angels reside in a paradise bounded by divine laws, chief of which are obedience to God, and celibacy. In all other things, the angels possess free will, that they may add in their own unique ways to God’s unfolding plan.

Lilith, most exquisite of angels, finds the rules arbitrary and stifling. She yearns to follow no plan but her own: a plan that leads to the throne now occupied by God himself. With clever words and forbidden caresses, Lilith sows discontent among the angels. Soon the virus of rebellion has spread to the greatest of them all: Lucifer.

Now, as angel is pitted against angel, old loyalties are betrayed and friendships broken. Lust, envy, pride, and ambition arise to shake the foundations of heaven . . . and beyond. For what begins as a war in paradise invades God’s newest creation, a planet known as Earth. It is there, in the garden called Eden, that Lilith, Lucifer, and the other rebel angels will seek a final desperate victory—or a venomous revenge.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Justine 5.0 out of 5 stars The Amazing Other Side of the Story! Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2021

Oh my good God was this an amazing read (clearly by the five star rating, which I don’t give out often!) I actually finished this a few weeks ago, but I needed some time to simmer on it.

I have ALWAYS questioned Lucifer’s side of the story, ever since I was forced into the Methodist church as a kid. I was always shushed and no one ever explained it to me. I remember saying, “why is he so bad? He just wanted to read books” – which really disturbed me, because I’m an avid reader. 😂

This novel starts at the very beginning, and follows the angels who are cast out of Heaven and down to Earth. This was more than I could have ever expected it to be. The details, the world building, the characters.. I devoured this. I loved seeing Lilith and Lucifer come to life, as I honor both of them during sacred space on occasion. I feel like I can finally stop searching for the other half of the story. I found it!!

I truly do not have enough words in my vocabulary to express how much I loved this novel. If you were ever curious about the other side of this famous story, I think this is the perfect place to start.

(Also there are two more books in the series and I CAN’T WAIT to get them!! So stay tuned!)

Other books by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US and :Amazon UK – Follow Vashti : Goodreads – website:Vashti – WordPress – Twitter:@VashtiQV

The final fantasy book today is Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

About the book

“Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca” resumes outside the Lost Library, where Hallgeir was faced with a decision that could impact the entire world.
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Lucetius is gravely wounded when he attempts to deliver a message. Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide are again separated from all their friends. The Three must continue their journey without assistance or protection from the other travelers. They must reach the faraway city of Pergesca. That is also the seat of power of the ancient Society of Deae Matres. Will the companions eventually be reunited?
.
A vicious enemy returns, displaying unexpected strength.
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An important character dies in this novelette. The death of a character is a rare thing in stories written by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Anita Dawes 4.0 out of 5 stars the pace of the story is electric, so where do we go from here?  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 October 2021

This enthralling story is gathering pace, and although things do seem promising, I doubt there can be a totally happy conclusion as there are too many opposing forces at work here.

Emlyn, in her innocence, cannot hope to compete with all the forces of evil that surround her. Or can she?

The mysterious force that guides her is her only help. Thankfully, her companions have stopped treating her as a child, dismissing her adventures and intuitions, as they have begun to realise that a strong and powerful presence is guiding her.

Watching the fall of Haldis, someone I never completed trusted (I was with Emlyn with this one) I was impressed with the way the author handled this extraordinarily complex situation.

Throughout the episodes already visited and enjoyed, I have been enthralled, entertained and patient, waiting for the story to reveal its secrets but as we near the end, the tension is becoming unbearable.  I need to know who or what is guiding Emlyn…  

A small selection of other books by Teagan

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Blog: Teagan’s BooksGoodreads:Goodreads Twitter: @teagangeneviene

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books..more Christmas book ideas soon thanks Sally.

 

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews #ParanormalYA Robbie Cheadle, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Childrens Eloise de Sousa


Welcome to the last cafe update of 2019… from Friday it will move to Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore…and over the coming weeks, a new look.

The first author with a recent review is Roberta Eaton Cheadle for Through the Nethergate.

About the book

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

Margaret is a girl with a special gift that allows her to see ghosts who are trapped in an overworld between Heaven and Hell. She’s able to help them regain life, then help them move on in the hereafter. When she moves in with her grandfather after the death of her parents, Margaret encounters a number of ghosts, and a particularly nasty black dog that is actually the embodiment of Hugh Bigod, an evil spirit who has held the ghosts trapped for centuries. Hugh has his own ideas how Margaret’s gifts can be used to his benefit.

This is a YA horror novel that will also appeal to adults, especially with the deep research the author layers into the historical aspects of the book. I found those the strongest and was enthralled by how skillfully Cheadle brought the past to life. There are a few POV issues and a good deal of internal thought, the latter which occasionally bogs things down, but for the most part this is a quick and easy read. Margaret’s grandfather is also a strong character, and the background of many of the ghosts adds a fascinating aspect. Most of the spirits are based on historic figures. I don’t usually read books that employ Lucifer as a character, and admit to skimming some of those chapters, but overall, I found this a compelling story on multiple levels.

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

Read all the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Robbie : Goodreads

Connect to Robbie via her blog: Robbie’s Inspiration

Now for a recent review for C.S. Boyack and  Viral Blues (The Hat Book 2)

About the book

Someone knows about the hat. The creature from another dimension that helps Lizzie fight against the creatures of darkness.

They are summoned to a cryptic meeting with a secret society, where they meet other people with enhanced skills. It turns out someone, or something, has been tampering with the world’s vaccine supply. The goal doesn’t appear to be political or financial, but biblical pestilence.

Can this group of loners come together in time to make a difference when even the proper authorities are obstacles?

Check out Viral Blues, for your dose of paranormal adventure, with a strong sample of dark humor. And in recent superhero style, don’t miss the secret last chapter after the back material.

One of the recent reviews for Viral Blues

Avengers Assemble!

Okay – maybe they’re not the real Avengers, but these characters are still a talented team fighting for the same cause, each bringing a different skill set to the table. Although I wasn’t as familiar with a couple of characters, I’d had such fun reading about Lizzie and the Hat in the first book, knew Lisa (one of my favs) from the author’s blog, and adored Clovis (love his style) and his dog from The Playground. With such a stellar collection of characters, I had high expectations for this novel – and Boyack didn’t disappoint. The addition of zombies (I’m a big fan) to the story just made it even better.

With a touch of the paranormal, witty and amusing dialogue, thrilling action scenes, and a cast of lively characters, Viral Blues is a rousing adventure I highly recommend. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be anxious to check out each character in their previous books.

A small selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And :  Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack:  Goodreads

Connect to Craig via his blog: Cold Hand Boyack

A recent review for the  latest children’s book by Eloise de Sousa.. Space Dust

About Space Dust

We’re going on a trip in Big Ox’s canoe. Watch the fire bears roar on Venus as pepper pot trees grow on the moon. As Big Ox steers us to the planets, Litte One wonders if Mum will come home soon.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Dec 10, 2019 M.J. Mallon rated it Five Stars

A very cute picture book that will make both the adult and the child smile. Lovely simple illustrations by the author which are colourful and fun. A recommendation for parents, carers and grandparents to read to their little ones.

Received a copy of the book from the author but my opinions are my own and unbiased.

#Recommended for young children, parents, grandparents, carers.

A small selection of other books by Eloise de Sousa

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Read the reviews on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Eloise via her: Blog

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

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday 17th October – C.S. Boyack with Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Carol Taylor #Pumpkins and Jack Eason #Politicians


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

The first post that I recommend that you read is the interview on Lisa Burton Radio of Hugh Bigod one of the stars of Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Lisa Burton

Welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today, my special guest is a cute black doggie with the awful name of Hugh Bigod. He’s here to talk to us about a problem he has. Probably something to do with that name. “Welcome to the show, Hugh.”

“A cute black doggie! How dare you refer to Hugh Bigod, the First Earl of Norfolk and the most evil man who ever lived in Norfolk as a cute black doggie? I am the most powerful ghost in Bungay, master to all the other ghosts. I choose to take the form of a huge black dog with red eyes as it strikes fear into the heart of my victims.”

“You’re telling me, you’re not actually a dog, but a ghostly apparition of a man named Hugh Bigod?”

“Yes, you imbecilic machine. After King Henry I of England died, I betrayed his successor, Stephen of Blois, usurper of the crown, and allowed him to be captured and imprisoned by dissidents. I then formed a huge gang of bandits who roamed the countryside, spreading terror, burning villages and torturing people and holding them to ransom.

Head over and discover more about Hugh Bigod and Through the Nethergate: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2019/10/17/through-the-nethergate-on-lisaburtonradio/

C. S. Boyack, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY Goodreads: C.S. Boyack Goodreads Blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Please visit Amazon to view all of Craig’s books.

and Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ Goodreads: Robbie Goodreads

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The next post is from Esme’s Salon where Carol Taylor has been contributing a monthly A – Z Culinary alphabet, and today the featured letter is U…. from Ugli Fruit to Umani.

Welcome to this month’s installment of the Culinary Alphabet. The Culinary Alphabet, The letter U, yes we are on the letter U.

Halloween is nearly upon us, the trees are changing color and what glorious colors we are seeing around the world. I love the changes of the seasons and Autumn is one of my favorites. At this moment in time, it is 77 sleeps which sounds a lot. The reality is before we know it, it will be Christmas Eve.

Without further ado. lets look at the letter U – not so many this time although maybe as I write some more will spring to mind.

Ugli Fruit, Fruit, Citrus, Organic

If you would like to know what Umani is.. head over and read the rest of this informative post: https://esmesalon.com/the-culinary-alphabet-the-letter-u/

About Esme

I grew up loving to bake and cook as I watched my Mom so lovingly prepare meal after meal for the family and all our friends. I live in Vancouver, Canada, for the past 20+ years, but originally from a then small village called Somerset West, just outside of Cape Town, in South Africa.

How did this blog come about?

Over the last number of years, I have been pouring my heart and soul into my blog, first The Recipe Hunter (Cook and Enjoy) and now I have upgraded to  EsmeSalon..

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog and enjoy posts on healthy eating, conservation, waste management, travel and amazing recipes: https://carolcooks2.com/

The final post today is from author Jack Eason who does have a reputation for telling it how it is.. and in this updated post particularly, he has a very forthright and accurate opinion of the state of our politics in the UK…. and I would say that there were few places in the world that the population has a differing view about their politicians. Of course it could be worse. It could be the portrait of a dictator on the walls of our government offices. However, as Jack says, surely there is a better way to get things done. Can we truly afford them any more?

cartoon-politician

Sometime during the last twenty years, the clear distinction between all political parties disappeared forever. At one time not so long ago you knew for certain that the Conservative/Republican party represented the privileged rich and big business while the Labour/Democrats worked to protect the rights and privileges of the ordinary working man and women – no longer.

Today’s crop of politicians, no matter which of the eighteen parties they belong to, can only be described at best as opportunistic chancers who entered politics to grow rich at the expense of the nation they purportedly represent. Here in the UK I defy anyone to show any appreciable difference between the Tories, Labour, Liberals, or any of the others, with the exception of the Brexit Party whose platform is all about getting the UK out of the EU.

If like me you believe that all politicians are pathologic liars and hypocrites, then, like me, you must be wondering can we as a nation truly afford them anymore. To illustrate my point, a previous Prime Minister paid a lot of lip service recently on the issue of tobacco. He declared that he was going to force the tobacco companies to either employ disgusting photographs of cancerous body organs like lungs etc on the packages, or force them to put out their product in plain packages with no company logo. To gain the bleeding heart vote he and his cronies had already acceded to the anti-smoking lobby by forcing retailers to hide all tobacco products, announcing that it was to discourage children from buying cigarettes. If you believe that you need your bumps felt. What a load of crap! Pull the other one; it’s got bells on it!
 

Do head over to Jack’s and I am sure he will be delighted to hear your views on politicians and also to offer any suggestions on how to improve things.. I left a couple: https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/can-we-truly-afford-them-anymore/comment-page-1

Jack Eason, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY/ Bloghttps://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/ – Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4026249.Jack_Eason

To view all of Jack Eason’s book please visit his Amazon Page or his blog

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – C.S. Boyack, Lizzie Chantree and Mae Clair


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

The first author with a recent review is C.S. Boyack for Voyage of the Lanternfish.

About Voyage of the Lanternfish

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

One of the recent reviews for the book

July 23, 2019

I bought and read this book back in January and somehow managed to forget to review it until now, six months later, lol. So, here my review is, at last. It says a lot that even after all this time, I still remember this book and its characters clearly, which is one reason I mention my little episode of forgetfulness now.

I’ve read other books by this author and love his easy style, sense of humour, and vivid imagination. He has a way with words. And Voyage of the Lanternfish certainly didn’t disappoint. We have kidnapping, piracy on the high seas, swashbuckling adventure and mayhem, and unforgettable characters and creatures. By far my favourite from this book are the root monsters with their incredibly expressive ‘I,I,I,I’s’. (Trust me, once you read it, you’ll know what I mean.)

If you’re a fan of magical realism and/or fantasy fiction, you’re sure to love this book. According to my GoodReads record, I read this in 24 hours. It would have been in one sitting if not for life intruding. This book gives you excellent world building and characterisation, along with fast-paced action and a rip-roaring plot line. The story will stay with me for a long time, and this is one of those books I’ll find myself re-reading (and not just because of my poor memory, lol). I cannot recommend Voyage of the Lanternfish highly enough. It gets a solid five stars from me.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MP8V633

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Voyage-Lanternfish-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B07MP8V633

A small selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

And on Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Connect to Craig via his website: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

The next book to receive recent reviews is If You Love Me I’m Yours by bestselling author , Lizzie Chantree.

About the book

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

One of the recent reviews for the book

An avid reader I have recently been left discontented by books, even favourites. This one is the first I have enjoyed in weeks.

Maud is not my usual type of heroine as I like reading about confident/bold/funny women and Maud is shy and retiring nevertheless this story was a joy and Dot, Daisy, Nat, even Maud’s overbearing parents and the increasingly repellent Tom are interesting.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/If-You-Love-Me-Yours-ebook/dp/B07C7HRNG1

And read more reviews on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C7HRNG1

Also by Lizzie Chantree

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And find more reviews and follow Lizzie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Connect to Lizzie via her website: https://lizziechantree.com/

The final book today with a recent review is, Cusp of Night ( Hode’s Hill Series) by Mae Clair.

About Cusp of Night

The truth hides in dark places . . .

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 28, 2019 Jacqui rated it Five Stars

In Mae Clair’s Cusp of Night (Lyrical Press 2018), Book 1 in her Hode’s Hill series, Maya Sinclair takes a job doing library research in a town she has never lived in, moving to a home managed by the town’s namesake, Hode Development. What she does know is she loves research, is drawn to the small-town nature of Hode’s Hill, and is eager to see where it all leads. It doesn’t take long to find out that the town is known more than anything for gory killings committed at the turn of the century that involved a fiend and a woman with blue skin–a spiritualist known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill. What Maya doesn’t realize until later is that the Blue Lady not only lived in the house Mae now rents but held her seances there. On the night the town holds what it calls Fiend Fest to celebrate this strange creature, the town’s patriarch, Leland Hode, is attacked and Maya is witness to the assault. Following that, she encounters strange occurrences in her new house that convince her it is haunted. She forces the young leader of Hode Development, Collin Hode, to face the haunting with her–after all, it is his house–and everything takes off from there. As she digs more into the mystery around the Blue Lady and the rumors swirling around her death, whatever happened back in the 1890s seems to transcend time and be part of the present day world around Maya and Hode’s Hill.

Sounds pretty scary? Yes, but not the typical horror story. In fact, I’d call it more of a monster story than horror as Maya faces down a creature who seems as scary as any monster her brain can conjure up and impervious to death. The events come at readers fast with a host of fascinating and multilayered characters well-positioned to people the entire series. As one of Clair’s characters says in the story:

“It’s time to get your ghost on.”

I will definitely be reading more of this series

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/

Read more reviews and follow Mae on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468716.Mae_Clair

Connect to Mae via her blog: https://maeclair.net/blog/

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

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jacquie Biggar, C.S. Boyack, Mae Clair


Welcome to the first of this week’s author updates with recent reviews for books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore..

The first author today with a recent review for Tempted by Mr. Wrong is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.

About the book

How can something so wrong, feel so right?

Falling for her step-brother is a mistake T.J. doesn’t want to repeat, but one look into those sapphire blue eyes and she’s ready to give Jason whatever he wants.

Tammy-Jo Hawthorne’s marriage was floundering, but she never expected her husband to make her the laughing stock of Magnolia.
And she definitely didn’t expect to trip over him in their front yard after he’d been murdered.

Jason McIntyre was forced out of his home and the love of his life by the man who’d haunted his nightmares for ten long years.
Now Jason’s back–and he wants revenge.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, women’s fiction.

One of the recent reviews on Goodreads

Jul 12, 2019 James rated it Five Stars

Tempted by Mr. Wrong, a novel published in 2017 by Jacquie Biggar, is the first romantic suspense book I’ve read in a very long time. I previously read another novel in a different genre by this author but wanted to sample something at opposite end of the spectrum [of a normal read for me] this week. I love suspense but the romance stuff is fairly new to me. In the end, it was quite a winner. Let’s dive into the review…

Tammy-Jo, better known as TJ, has a bad track record with men. She had a bit of an illicit affair with a stepbrother, Jason, in her late teens (parents had only just married) but her father chased him away, causing a family drama that wouldn’t end for years. TJ married another guy to help out her father, as they went into business together… but what type of business was it exactly? We don’t know in the beginning, yet something seems foul as the husband ends up dead. We know it’s bad when TJ looks guilty and someone attacks her to collect missing evidence. As Jason helps protect his stepsister, almost ruin his own career, and stops her father from interfering again, he realizes he still loves her. But how does she feel about the man who hurt her all those years ago?

From the get go, readers know this isn’t just a sappy love story; no offense intended to readers who want that… I only mean… this has a whole lot more going on. Murder. Stalking. Revenge. Power struggles. All the typical suspense and mystery elements which kept me highly intrigued. TJ is a complex woman. At first, she seemed spoiled, but as you got to know her, she was heartbroken. Her father is controlling. Her stepmother is developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Her husband was a jerk. Jason is all she has left, and it’s been a decade since she saw him. Right there… the hook to want her to win. I fell, and I think most readers will too. She’s multifaceted and grows on you quickly.

Biggar developed the suspense quite well. I was all set to cast the villain, and in the end, it’s more open-ended until a final decision is made. Who exactly started all the trouble years ago? It may not be what you think it is… and that’s why I really enjoyed this book. It had so much of what I usually love to see in my reads, plus some extra. There’s one lengthy and detailed romance scene between two characters, which of course is super sexy and physical and all that fun stuff. Sometimes I closed one eye and skimmed (to kinda get the picture) and others I invested in the details. I think I feel like a voyeur when I read those scenes, so I revert back to a 15-year-old boy and giggle. But that’s just me, as I can definitely say they are written very well. There was heat, lust, attraction, and intimacy — all in a good way!

The dramatic opening scene really sets the tone, and from there, it keeps you glued to the pages. I think I devoured it in about 2 hours one afternoon. Having finished two novels by this author, I can safely say she crafts a superb story, writes with easy yet intelligent fluidity, and knows how to capture her audience. I’ll definitely be reading more from her, and perhaps I’ll learn to love the love scenes one day too! :

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072V2G8H2

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tempted-Mr-Wrong-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B072V2G8H2

A selection 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

Now a recent review for  Sci-fi/Fantasy lovers…the novella The Hat by C.S. Boyack.

About The Hat

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

One of the recent reviews for The Hat on Goodreads

Jul 17, 2019 D. Peach rated it Five Stars

In this short read, Boyack has teamed up Lizzie, a young woman with two part-time jobs, and a talking hat that she stole/inherited from her grandmother’s estate. Yes, you heard that right—a talking hat. At first, she’s rather suspicious and freaked out by the hat, but when a friend’s newborn is stolen as part of a larger baby-napping ring, Lizzie and the hat set out to rescue the infants.What ensues is pretty entertaining. The banter between Lizzie and the hat is exceptionally witty, particularly as the hat navigates advances in technology (it’s been in a box for a long time). The duo reminded me of wise-cracking detective team with snappy dialog and lots of attitude on both sides.

This book can be polished off in a couple of hours and is well worth the time. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078YYCNSF/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF/

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Connect with Craig via his blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

The final book today with a recet review is, Cusp of Night ( Hode’s Hill Series) by Mae Clair.

About Cusp of Night

The truth hides in dark places . . .

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jun 07, 2019 M.L. Rigdon rated it Five Stars

Wonderfully spooky. What I liked most about this story and Mae Claire’s writing is her compassion for monsters. Atmospheric, well-paced and peopled with defined personalities.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/

Read more reviews and follow Mae on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468716.Mae_Clair

Connect to Mae via her blog: https://maeclair.net/blog/

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Frank Prem, C. S. Boyack, Stevie Turner and Judith Barrow.


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore Updates this week with more reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Frank Prem whose latest collection Devil in the Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires is receiving wonderful reviews.

About Devil in the Wind

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’m not a poetry person, at least not normally, but I cried when I read ‘Devil in the Wind’ by Frank Prem. It’s about the Black Saturday fires that claimed 173 lives here in Victoria.
I was at home in Warrandyte that day. I’d sent the Offspring away, but I was at home with Dad and the animals because Dad had mild dementia and…I don’t think any of us really believed. I listened to 774 radio all day and some horrific reports were being phoned in, but we had the best roof sprinklers money could buy, and fire-resistant shutters. I was sure we’d be fine. And we didn’t really believe.

The next day, the reports started coming in and finally, we believed.

It was ‘all in together’ for a while after Black Saturday. We grieved, and donated food, and money, and hay because the animals were starving, and because we were alive and so many were not.

The togetherness has disappeared now, but we had it for a while, and I thank Frank Prem for helping me remember.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wind-anthology-Saturday-bushfires-ebook/dp/B07Q9YLD8V

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-Wind-anthology-Saturday-bushfires-ebook/dp/B07Q9YLD8V

Also by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank via his blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/

And the next author with a recent review is C.S. Boyack for his Sci-fi/Fantasy the novella The Hat

About The Hat

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

One of the recent reviews for the book 

This book is not in my usual reading genre, but nonetheless, a delight to read. The Hat is a whimsical tale of a dynamic team – Lizzie, a 21 year old girl with troubles it seems at every corner, who manages to team up with the talking hat.

Lizzie manages to scoop a box off the moving truck taking away what’s left of her recently passed grandmother’s estate. Completely unaware what’s in the box, Lizzie strikes a real gem when she discovers in that box is a hat, but not just any hat.

As Lizzie and the talking hat get acquainted, finally becoming friends, the hat teaches her more about her family background, and ultimately becomes her cohort in her quest to save the kidnapped babies she learns about after her friend’s baby is kidnapped.

The story progresses through the quest to solve the crime, all the while experiencing magical situations and escapes when she puts on the hat and it empowers her with its magical properties, even being able to transport her to safety when the goings get rough.
A fun escape with lots of laughs and a perfect short read and entertaining read for a rainy afternoon.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078YYCNSF/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF/

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Connect with Craig via his blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Now for a recent review for Stevie Turner and The Daughter-in-law Syndrome

About The Daughter-in-Law Syndrome.

The Daughter-in-law Syndrome delves into the complicated relationship that is causing much friction between Grandmother Edna Deane and her daughter-in-law Arla. In addition it focuses on the sometimes tumultuous partnership between Arla and her husband Ric. Arla Deane sometimes likens her marriage to undergoing daily psychological warfare. Husband Ric will never voice an opinion, and puts his mother Edna up high on a pedestal. Arla is sick of always feeling that she comes in at only second best to her mother-in-law, who much to Arla’s fury is never told anything by Ric or his sisters that she would not want to hear.

This novel explores the husband/wife, mother/son, and mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships. After twenty eight years of marriage, Arla, the daughter-in-law, is at the end of her tether and persuades a reluctant Ric to accompany her for marriage guidance. As they look back over their lives with Counsellor Toni Beecher, Arla slowly comes to realise her own failings, and eventually discovers the long-hidden reason why Ric will never utter a cross word to his mother. Also, adding to Arla’s stress is the fact that her son Stuart will soon be marrying Ria, a girl whom Arla feels is just looking for a free ride. Arla is convinced that Ria will be no asset to Stuart at all; her new daughter-in-law just wants to be a mother and has no intention of ever working again once the babies start to arrive. After visiting Stuart and Ria for Sunday lunch, Arla is convinced that her son is making the biggest mistake of his life…

A recent review for the book