Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Gigi Sedlmayer, Jan Sikes, Balroop Singh, Mary Smith, Janice Spina, Kristina Stanley, Carmen Stefanescu, Phillip T. Stephens, 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 – Christmas Book Fair – Paul Andruss, C.S. Boyack, Carmen Stefanescu, Paul Cude and Angie Dokos


You are more used to seeing the posts by Paul Andruss on a Friday in his role of Writer in Residence. But, Paul is a very talented author and if any of your family are Harry Potter fans they will love Thomas the Rhymer. Wonderful for all ages and I hope that you will put on your gift list for yourself, family and friends. I read and reviewed the book earlier in the year and can recommend.

About Thomas the Rhymer

A magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.

To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.

But there is a problem…

No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.

And even if they find her… will she let them go?

One of the reviews for the book

Just about the worst thing that can happen to any family is the disappearance of a child. This is exactly what happens in Jack’s family and, worse still, Jack is a witness to his older brother’s sudden and troubling disappearance.

The facts of the disappearance are very peculiar and, subsequent to his disappearance, Jack receives strange telephone calls from his brother, Dan, on his cell phone. When he answers, Dan says nothing and the line goes dead. Jack finds himself unable to tell anyone about what his saw that day, as soon as he tries he starts to choke and can’t utter a word. Then a strange tramp appears who speaks only in rhymes. The tramp, whom only Jack can see, seems to be able to pass through walls and disappear at will. All of this is against a background of stress at home due to Jack’s mother suffering from a chronic illness.

Jack finds himself embroiled in the magical kingdom of the fairies and soon discovers that their failing world is tinged with evil. Jack and his friends experience an array of mystical and strange happenings including travelling by fairy ley lines and disappearing into a living tapestry.

Author Paul Andruss has an expert knowledge of mythical creatures and the world of the fairies which he shares with the reader using the most beautiful and expressive language. He pulls you into this fairy world, which exists in parallel to our own and which is fraught with difficulties due to human technology and progress. This book also shares valuable lessons about everything not being as it appears to be and the value of strong friendships.

Who is the strange tramp and what does he want from Jack? Can he help Jack to find his brother and bring him back before it is too late?

A few beautiful quotes from this book are as follows:

“Beautiful,” she signed, mesmerized by the shifting hues washing over the weave like skeins of mist.”

“Drifts of heady perfume left Jack heavy-eyed, yet giddy with recklessness.”

“The tramp was back on Mr Gibson’s wall. All he could think about was the poem. Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there… He wasn’t there again today… I wish that man would GO AWAY!”

This book is suitable for readers aged from 11 years and older. Adult readers will also appreciate the delightful prose, beautiful imagery and clever story line.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Connect to Paul on his blog:  http://www.paul-andruss.com/

The next gift suggestion is for the short story collection The Enhanced League by C.S. Boyack. Craig supports Indie authors on his blog with entertaining interviews courtesy of the lovely Lisa Burton.

About the Enhanced League

The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

One of the excellent reviews for The Enhanced League

Harmony Kent  5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 23 July 2017

I know nothing about baseball and am not into sports. So, why read this book? Well, I rate this author highly, especially his short stories, and I love his experimental notebooks. Here is a writer that brings his characters to life right off the bat (story, couldn’t resist the pun!) 😉 … In The Enhanced League, we meet many varied folks who have something to do with an enhanced baseball league. While a common thread connects each chapter, they read well as standalone stories too, while having an overarching storyline, and this makes for an easy book to dip in and out of when you don’t have the time to read a novel length book.

The book held me enthralled enough to give it five stars even though some spelling hiccups do occur, which would usually merit a four instead. Definitely not in this case. Here, we have a master of the speculative fiction genre who spins a darn good yarn. Well worth your time and money.

Read the other reviews and buy The Enhanced League: https://www.amazon.com/Enhanced-League-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B073T5DH2Q

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Enhanced-League-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B073T5DH2Q

A selection of 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 next author that I would like to feature is Carmen Stefanescu who has been a wonderful supporter of the blog this year. Here is Dracula’s Prodigy.

About Dracula’s Prodigy

Running from the hands of an abusive husband, on the verge of committing suicide, a series of strange events/apparitions make Linda reassess her life. She embarks on a thorough research regarding her unusual ancestor—Vlad, the Impaler, aka Dracula.

Can Linda discover the truth regarding Vlad among the countless malicious stories, exaggerated legends and whispered slander dating back to 15th century? Is he a hero, a brave protector of his hard tried people and country? Or a cruel monster feeding on the blood of those impaled at his order?

And is good-looking Jody really helping Linda regain her trust in men and love, or is he another evil envoy of a past that haunts her and threatens her life?

One of the reviews for Dracula’s Prodigy

An Engrossing Read  on August 6, 2017

A complex story that focus on a descendant of the infamous Vlad the Impaler (Count Dracula) that is intricately imagined and beautifully told. Linda Cartwright has no idea who the strange man in her dreams is, nor does she understand how the life she once imagined with her husband, Bill, has turned into a nightmare for her and her young daughter.

Fleeing a loveless marriage, Linda discovers courage she never realized she had, and an ancestral history rife with betrayals, revenge, and eternal devotion. Rich with details of both past and present, Carmen Stefanescu continues the story she began in Dracula’s Mistress, but offers a unique twist by placing her heroine in modern times.

I found myself caught up in the emotion of the central characters and a mystery that transcends centuries. The author’s writing flows beautifully, both visual and compelling, keeping the reader turning pages and racing to the conclusion. If you enjoy history and myth with a twinge of the paranormal, woven into a contemporary setting, this is a story you don’t want to miss.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Prodigy-Mistress-Book-ebook/dp/B071KVQ48W

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Draculas-Prodigy-Mistress-Book-ebook/dp/B071KVQ48W

Also by Carmen Stefanescu

Find out more about Carmen’s books and other published work: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ie/p/works.html

Connect to Carmen via her blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

The next author with books that would please anyone who loves fantasy and dragons is Paul Cude with his Bentwhistle the Dragon Series which is now available in a box set which makes a great gift. Paul is an amazing sharer of my posts on Facebook and he is definitely someone to follow.

A brief summary of the three books in the series.

Book 1
Can you be heroic and naive? For Peter Bentwhistle, the answer would most certainly have to be YES! Blissfully unaware of what’s going on around him, for the most part he remains fully focused on blending in and keeping a low profile.

But fate and just plain bad luck have other designs on him. Not so bad, you might think. Until you discover the TRUTH! Just like his friends, Tank and Richie, he is a…..DRAGON!

Book 2
Treachery from the sands of Egypt to the plains of Antarctica. Following on from the harrowing events of ‘A Threat From The Past’ (Book 1), a new found friendship with the dragon king is forged.

Soon though, young and old alike are unwittingly drawn into a deadly plot, when a straight forward meeting with the monarch sees them helping an injured dragon agent, straight back from his mission in Antarctica with news of a devastating encounter with another ancient race.

Book 3

Hearts and minds ripped to shreds. Amid turmoil surrounding devastating attacks across the world, the dragon domain faces the planet’s greatest fear: global terrorism by an unknown force of magic users. Against this backdrop, and with Manson’s deadly scheme in full swing, events quickly turn from bad to worse.

The most recent review for the the first book in the series – A Threat from the Past

on December 6, 2017

Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past by Paul Cude is a story set in the present day world where dragons are disguised as humans and have infiltrated the human race to guide and protect them. Peter Bentwhistle and his friends Tank and Richie are three young dragons fresh out of the nursery ring. Peter rises to the head of security at Cromptech; a firm that provides laminium which is a critical resource for dragons. Peter’s boss starts going through his own changes which appear to be due to a security consultant named Manson. The three young dragons get caught up in an evil plot to steal the precious commodity vital to the dragon community. How does Peter and his friends restore his boss to his former personality and old self and thwart Mansion?

This is book is an amazing adventure story that both children and adults alike will love. Going through the book and reading it with my daughter the story got a 2 thumbs up. My daughter raved about the story and couldn’t stop saying how amazing and awesome it was. Bentwhistle was a very suspenseful tale of adventure. The vilian was both subtle. We were drawn into the struggle between he and the hero of the book. The dragons practice magic for the transformations between human and dragon form through devices called magic mantras. The believably is amazing given the fact that this revolves in the fantasy genre. In this book dragons care very much about the humanity of the race as well as the lives of the humans around them. This is something that you as the reader get a great perspective on while reading the novel. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys this type of book.

To accompany the boxed set is a Prequel to the series – A Right Royal RumpASS

About the book

Remember how rowdy your education was at times?

Throw in prehistoric battle urges, violent outbursts of combustible flame, the ability to fly and a natural affinity for magic and what do you have? A group of mismatched young dragons studying at a renowned nursery ring, thrilled to be learning how to use their dragon abilities and the inherent magic each of them possess.

But like classrooms across the world, it’s not quite as simple as that. With a class bully determined to outwit everyone, including their ‘tor’ (teacher), the friends must work together to expose not only the unknown magic used, but also his dastardly method of cheating.

As an unflappable newcomer becomes a worthy ally, aerial antics abound in an illicit laminium ball match whose outcome may yet determine one dragon’s fate.

Read the reviews, buy the boxed set and the prequel: https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Cude/e/B007339206

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-Cude/e/B007339206

Read more reviews and follow Paul on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5368048.Paul_Cude

Connect to Paul Cude via his website: http://www.bentwhistlethedragon.co.uk/

The next author that I would like to thank for her consistent and very welcome support on Twitter is Angie Dokos with Roadside which tells the story of Serena and her journey back from violence with the help of a stranger.

About the book

Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Author Angie Dokos has written a book that All ages can enjoy – having characters in college and high school, along with their parents, give the sense of family, ‘and’ the way you’d want Your family to be. Once Zayne and his father (a law enforcement official), Levi, find Serena on the side of the road, barely alive from a vicious attack, young Zayne seems drawn to this young girl. As their relationship grows, and his father locks up the man who assaulted Serena, they get to know each other day-by-day, meet one another’s parents, attend Church together, and have get-togethers with their friends – reminds me SO much of the days my children had ‘their’ friends around!! By the way, you will also find a ‘little’ bit of tension as the story progresses, and you will keep pulling for Zayne and Serena to be together!! Hang in there – it’s a Beautiful ride until the end!! Thank you, Angie Dokos, for this beautiful story!!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/ROADSIDE-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B0722T3Y58

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.co.uk/ROADSIDE-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B0722T3Y58

Also by Angie Dokos

Visit Angie’s Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14905574.Angie_Dokos

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: https://angiedokos.wordpress.com

I hope that this has given you plenty of ideas for book gifts for yourself,family and friends.. It would be great if you could share.. thank you Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Carmen Stefanescu and Tobias Wade


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update and the first author with news is Carmen Stefanescu who has re-released Shadows of the Past this week. The book was previously with Carmen’s publisher, and its previous edition received over 75 excellent reviews.  Unfortunately they have not carried over to this edition on Amazon, so I will use one from Goodreads and give you the link to read more of them there.

About Shadows of the Past

Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.

The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world–one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil’s vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve’s soul from its torment.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?

A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.

The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.

One of the many reviews for the previous edition on Goodreads.

Paulette Mahurin rated it Five Stars.

Carmen Stefanescu’s Shadows of the Past was a great read that I enjoyed from the first page through the last sentence, that I was sorry to see end; I tried to savor this one, make it last, that’s how entertaining a read it is. The author writes a tightly worded, intelligent, story, a story within a story, then and now, from a past that needed resolution in a modern day couple.

The dreams and visions the protagonist, Anne, experienced set the stage for the unfolding of a story, brilliantly told, moving through her as a past life apparition, Genevieve. The character development of Anne and her partner Neil, and other story counterparts is really well done, but the star of he story is the tragic Genevieve, as if taken from the pages of Shakespeare, one can not imagine less unfortunate issues to befall a human being, and in counterpoint is the lusciously evil antagonist the Abbess, who you read page after page hoping she gets hers.

The pages invite the reader in with a wanting to know what is going to happen to Anne, to Genevieve, and page after page as the tension builds the reader is not disappointed. This is an excellently crafted work, by an author who clearly knows how to write, who understands literature, and knows how to tell a compellingly great story. I loved this one

You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Past-Carmen-Stefanescu-ebook/dp/B0756KGNMP

Read the reviews for the previous edition on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16249401-shadows-of-the-past

Also by Carmen Stefanescu

The most recent review for Dracula’s Prodigy

An Engrossing Read  on August 6, 2017

A complex story that focus on a descendant of the infamous Vlad the Impaler (Count Dracula) that is intricately imagined and beautifully told. Linda Cartwright has no idea who the strange man in her dreams is, nor does she understand how the life she once imagined with her husband, Bill, has turned into a nightmare for her and her young daughter.

Fleeing a loveless marriage, Linda discovers courage she never realized she had, and an ancestral history rife with betrayals, revenge, and eternal devotion. Rich with details of both past and present, Carmen Stefanescu continues the story she began in Dracula’s Mistress, but offers a unique twist by placing her heroine in modern times.

I found myself caught up in the emotion of the central characters and a mystery that transcends centuries. The author’s writing flows beautifully, both visual and compelling, keeping the reader turning pages and racing to the conclusion. If you enjoy history and myth with a twinge of the paranormal, woven into a contemporary setting, this is a story you don’t want to miss.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Carmen’s Amazon Kindle Store

Find out more about Carmen’s books and other published work: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ie/p/works.html

Connect to Carmen via her blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

My next author today is Tobias Wade and his horror short story collection, 51 Sleepless Nights that was published in June 2017.

About 51 Sleepless Nights

A diverse collection of horror stories including the grizzly confessions of a serial killer, parallel dimensions, becoming trapped in a virtual world, and encountering ancient aliens buried beneath the Earth’s crust. Demons, monsters, psychopaths, undead, mad experiments and paranormal – no matter what makes your heart race, you’re guaranteed to face your fear with these terrifying stories.

One of the recent reviews

I don’t know which was worse, taking the Devil by surprise or letting him know I was coming.”
from The 32

You’re going to be surprised to hear how much I liked this one. First, it’s short stories – a genre I have long-standing issues with – and second, it’s horror – a genre I tend to avoid outside of a very few favorites because I do most of my reading at night these days and I have insane dreams without adding such fuel to their fire! When I was contacted by the author, Tobias Wade, I was initially inclined to decline the request out of hand. Then I looked the book up on Amazon – the cover art absolutely sold me on this one. Isn’t that a fabulously eerie cover?? While I am a firm believer that you can’t judge a book by its cover, sometimes I do find that a cover (or title) will pull me toward giving something a second look. If the cover (or title or whatever) speaks to me, it suggests that what’s inside will to. This isn’t a direct correlation – it doesn’t always hold true – but more often than not it does. Just so with this book…

51 Sleepless Nights is a collection of horror shorts. That much is obvious from the title alone. But what’s not so obvious is the delicate, scalpel-edged, psychological component to so much of this collection. To me, that is what the cover art embodied. The book as a whole is seriously creepy, in the best possible way. There is a lot of “traditional” horror (spiders, death, ghosts, evil), and those stories are very well crafted and original (and original in this genre is increasingly rare to find, particularly given that these are shorts and each and every one has to have its own unique concept or idea). But it was the stories with the psychological elements that I found fascinatingly eerie and thought-provoking (as well as goosebump-inducing)… Many of them are very short, and I would read them very fast. As I was reading, I was thoroughly entertained and a little creeped out. Then I’d finish and think for a second about what I’d just read. Or maybe I’d think about it hours later, when something resonated with my memory of the story(ies). And then I’d get VERY creeped out…

There is a surprisingly deep element to this “horror fiction” that I think catapults it beyond the traditional genre in ways that are both promising and rewarding. Tobias Wade is a talented spin-master, and I look forward to seeing where his twisty mind goes in future!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Stories-collection-paranormal-psychopaths-ebook/dp/B072WGRGDF

Also by Tobias Wade

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Tobias-Wade/e/B00KMNEVD2

Read more reviews and follow Tobias on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8327290.Tobias_Wade

Connect to Tobias via his website: http://tobiaswade.com/

Thanks for dropping in today and please feel free to share the news from Carmen and Tobias. 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.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 11th August 2017 – Lucinda E. Clarke, Debby Gies (FREE Book) Steve Costello, Carmen Stefanescu and Christy Birmingham


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to Friday’s Blogger Daily with a small selection of terrific blog posts in the community today.  Starting with author Lucinda E. Clarke and her guest Lesley Hayes.

My guest this week lives in Oxford, England and is a psychotherapist by profession and a prolific writer. I enjoy her books which I would describe as deep, leaving lots of room for thought long after you read the last page. Again, Lesley is one of the earliest virtual friends I met on Facebook and we’re both in the Indie Authors Support and Discussion group. We re-tweet regularly and I do recommend her books they are truly inspiring.

My name is Lesley Hayes and I write… It feels like the opening to a confession at Writer’s Anonymous, and in a way that’s appropriate. Writing is a kind of addiction, a craving that can attack the soul with the sharp bite of a need demanding to be answered in the dead of night, at dawn, or at any unguarded point throughout the day. I began writing stories while I was at school, neglecting every other subject (apart from History, which intrigued me with its many lies and mysteries) and ducked university at the age of 17 to work on Honey magazine, where my first short story was published. It was the beginning of a long and fruitful love affair with writing for publication, which has weaved in and out of everything else I’ve done over the ensuing years.

Head over and find out more about Lesley and her books: https://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/meet-lesley-hayes/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Debby Gies posted today with a #FREE offer of her book Words We Carry until August 15th.

About the book

“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?

D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.

Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.

Head over and read some of the sample reviews and follow links to dowload: https://dgkayewriter.com/words-carry-relationships-self-esteem-free-promotion-amazon/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Steve Costello is offering some author promotion in the form of Synopsis Thursday.. here are the details.

What an odd title to apply to Thursday! Well, not really because this is a new opportunity for authors to tell the world about their books. Here’s how it works.

You send a synopsis and link to your current or forthcoming book in 500 words, or less if you prefer and I will present it on my blog. In addition, I will promote the first one I receive each week (for seven days) on my social media accounts which are steadily growing.

No catches, that’s it, send a synopsis today.

Head over to Steve’s blog and introduce yourself: https://authorstevecostello.com/2017/08/10/synopsis-thursday/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

I was delighted to be interviewed by author Carmen Stefanescu this week and here is a snippet with a few more of my secrets with others in the rest of the post…

1 . What 3 words best describe you?

Inquisitive, Supportive, Joker

2. I’m sure we all have writing rituals, even if we’re not conscious of them! Do you have one, I mean do you need music playing in the background, have a certain snack at arm’s length, write with a certain type of pen/keyboard, drink coffee/tea/milk/juice while writing?

I am pretty easy going with my writing process, but once I get started I like to work through without interruption until I have finished a chapter, short story or post. I may come back to edit later, but I like to know that it is all there.

Find out more about my secrets! and check Carmen’s blog out: https://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ie/2017/08/author-interview-and-spotlight-sally-g.html

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

And finally a post from Christy Birmingham on how we should be looking at care for the elderly. My philosophy is that “We will all be there one day”.. and on the premise that we should treat people the way we wish to be treated… we need as a society to get our act together.

Many people feel that the elderly are somewhat inconvenient. These people do not, or have not, experienced the wealth of getting to know an elderly relative or friend. Remember, the elderly do not exist in a static state. They weren’t ‘born old.’ They have lived a life of full experiences, lived through social situations and adventures you can only imagine, no matter how modest and humble they might seem at this stage in their life. Age brings with its dignity, and dignity brings with it independence. The elderly deserve respect, the utmost respect we can give.

What follows is a list of ways we can respect our elderly friends or family, to make them feel what they are, truly and completely vital to the fabric of a great society.

Read the rest of this important post: https://whenwomeninspire.com/2017/08/10/respecting-elderly-relative-latter-stages-life/

That is all folks for this bumper issue.. have a wonderful weekend and there will be a few posts going out including more stories from Geoff Cronin in Milestones.. Haiku and the weekly round up on Sunday.  Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Carmen Stefanescu and Patricia K. Salamone


Welcome to the first of the book review posts for the week and our first author celebrating is Carmen Stefanescu with Dracula’s Prodigy.

About Dracula’s Prodigy

Running from the hands of an abusive husband, on the verge of committing suicide, a series of strange events/apparitions make Linda reassess her life. She embarks on a thorough research regarding her unusual ancestor—Vlad, the Impaler, aka Dracula.

Can Linda discover the truth regarding Vlad among the countless malicious stories, exaggerated legends and whispered slander dating back to 15th century? Is he a hero, a brave protector of his hard tried people and country? Or a cruel monster feeding on the blood of those impaled at his order?

And is good-looking Jody really helping Linda regain her trust in men and love, or is he another evil envoy of a past that haunts her and threatens her life?

The most recent review for Dracula’s Prodigy

An Engrossing Read  on August 6, 2017

A complex story that focus on a descendant of the infamous Vlad the Impaler (Count Dracula) that is intricately imagined and beautifully told. Linda Cartwright has no idea who the strange man in her dreams is, nor does she understand how the life she once imagined with her husband, Bill, has turned into a nightmare for her and her young daughter.

Fleeing a loveless marriage, Linda discovers courage she never realized she had, and an ancestral history rife with betrayals, revenge, and eternal devotion. Rich with details of both past and present, Carmen Stefanescu continues the story she began in Dracula’s Mistress, but offers a unique twist by placing her heroine in modern times.

I found myself caught up in the emotion of the central characters and a mystery that transcends centuries. The author’s writing flows beautifully, both visual and compelling, keeping the reader turning pages and racing to the conclusion. If you enjoy history and myth with a twinge of the paranormal, woven into a contemporary setting, this is a story you don’t want to miss.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Prodigy-Mistress-Book-ebook/dp/B071KVQ48W

Also by Carmen Stefanescu

Find out more about Carmen’s books and other published work: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ie/p/works.html

Connect to Carmen via her blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

My next reviews are for Patricia K Salamone and her book The Italian Thing which shares the trip that she and her husband took to meet his Italian relatives.

About The Italian Thing

Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip! *Includes 26 original photos!

The most recent reviews on Amazon

I have always wanted to visit Italy, such a timeless and beautiful country with so many interesting places to visit.

Reading “The Italian Thing” will be like going there and seeing the country through someone else’s eyes, I thought, expecting to find a country I was already familiar with. I was looking forward to the trip of a lifetime and the book did not disappoint. It was well written, full of all the wonderful scenery and architecture I have come to expect of the country.

However “The Italian Thing” isn’t about the country, not really, it is about the people and family. About the lives they live and the glorious food they eat.
“Everything will be fine” is the Italians hilarious answer to everything, and is the key to understanding their very different way of life.

I loved the touches of humour, the very descriptive narrative, and the loving but feisty relationship between Pat and Mike. Who were out of their depth, and up to their eyes in food of every delicious description. How they came home weighing less than before is remarkable!

Everything will be fine”, they all said, and of course it was. A light hearted and most amusing account of an Italian America couple’s holiday to Naro, Italy. Patricia and Mike travel from Florida in the USA to experience life with Mike’s relatives. They are Italian so it will be a doddle, they think. This book is a heart warming account of how very different life proves to be on the other side of the pond and how this couple come to realise that being an Italian in Italy is a little different from being an American of Italian extraction.

They are welcomed, in what I came to think of as “true Italian style”, by their extended family as they all gathered for one fantastic meal after another to celebrate their American relatives visit to the continent. Mike and Patricia learn how to take a hand shower in the bath and how to mop up the bathroom from top to bottom afterwards, are introduced to the delicious joys of homemade bread, still warm from the oven and Patricia gets an opportunity to show off her own cooking skills when she make a tomato based sauce for a family event. Patricia also learns to drive like a real Italian and only scrapes the car once during the entire holiday. In addition to the delightful people, Patricia and Mike are introduced to the delights of Italian pastries, delicious food served on plastic plates and a toilet facility with no door.

I read this book with my son, Michael, aged eleven, while my older son, Gregory, aged fourteen, listened. Michael was completely taken with the story and chose this book as the subject of his second term book review for school. He has been walking around ever since we read it telling me that everything, from not brushing his teeth to gobbling all the left overs is “the Italian thing!”. A truly worthwhile read for everyone and anyone who enjoys life and a jolly good laugh.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Italian-Thing-Patricia-Salamone-ebook/dp/B00EL0AGIG

Read other reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19295811-the-italian-thing

Connect to Patricia and enjoy her fiction series: https://the-italian-thing.com/

Thanks for dropping in today and please spread the news about these talented writers and their new reviews. Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Poetry – Self- Portrait by Carmen Stefanescu


I am delighted to share Self-Portrait by Carmen Stefanescu as part of the new poetry series. If you would like to share your poem here then please contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and we can talk about what I need to showcase you and your other work.

SELF- PORTRAIT

I am the seagull
whose wings have been broken.
I am the frail leaf
snatched by the gust.
I am the hour
that’s already wasted,
I am a dream
that belongs to the past.

I am the foreseer
that people mock at,
Or the guitar
that has no more strings,
I’m the dried well
that won’t quench the thirst,
I am the jester
scorned by the kings.

I’m not the bright rainbow
that shines after storms,
Or the swift eagle
high up in the sky.
I am not the oak tree
defying the time.
I am just a drifter
reluctant to die !

©Carmen Stefanescu 2017

Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Books by Carmen Stefanescu

Read the reviews so far and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Prodigy-Mistress-Book-ebook/dp/B071KVQ48W

Buy Dracula’s Mistress: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Mistress-Carmen-Stefanescu-ebook/dp/B06XNW7RXD

Connect to Carmen

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624397.Carmen_Stefanescu
Blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Carmen_Books
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/carmens007/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carmen-Stefanescu-Books/499245716760283
Google: https://plus.google.com/117216040843648957646/posts

If you would like to share your poetry and also your other written work then please contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Carmen Stefanescu, Rick McBee and Malia Ann Haberman


Welcome to the Friday author update and good news for Carmen Stefanescu this week with a brand new release, Dracula’s Prodigy and another great review for her book Until Life us do Part that is already on the shelves of the bookstore.

About Dracula’s Prodigy

Running from the hands of an abusive husband, on the verge of committing suicide, a series of strange events/apparitions make Linda reassess her life. She embarks on a thorough research regarding her unusual ancestor—Vlad, the Impaler, aka Dracula.

Can Linda discover the truth regarding Vlad among the countless malicious stories, exaggerated legends and whispered slander dating back to 15th century? Is he a hero, a brave protector of his hard tried people and country? Or a cruel monster feeding on the blood of those impaled at his order?

And is good-looking Jody really helping Linda regain her trust in men and love, or is he another evil envoy of a past that haunts her and threatens her life?

Two of the early reviews for the book

This was a solid continuation of Dracula’s Mistress although it was a surprising twist that this book was based in modern times, I was expecting it to be his daughter’s story next but this was a fun and interesting story and I thoroughly enjoyed it perhaps even more than the first book. I will be interested in seeing what comes next.
If you enjoy a story with a bit of romance, despair and a historical twist than I believe you will enjoy this story.

Suspense, intrigue and blood seekers. The characters were wildly tasteful. It was a great weekend read. Chapters grew your interest as you hoped to see good things happen for those that needed it. Any Dracula’s fans needs to get this. I love vamps.

Read the reviews so far and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Prodigy-Mistress-Book-ebook/dp/B071KVQ48W

Buy Dracula’s Mistress: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Mistress-Carmen-Stefanescu-ebook/dp/B06XNW7RXD

Also by Carmen Stefanescu

The latest review for Till Life do us Part

A ghostly suspense that gives a sense of old world charm, but is set mostly in the contemporary era. Ms Stefanescu has a style all her own, rich with location descriptions, and full of quirky characters.

Barbara Heyer is a child when she realizes she can hear the voices of dead people. These ghostly whispers seek her assistance in easing the pain of their loved one’s whom death has forced them to leave behind. Along her journey, she gets mixed up with brutal murderers and their victims, including her brother. And, of course, she meets a gorgeous detective who makes her feel more than she ever has before. But their love story is not smooth, and Barbara is forced to explore her previous life where she met a violent death.

Ms Stefanescu weaves the past and present together seamlessly, and keeps the pace tight. I loved how she made Barbara’s communication with ghosts so natural, like it was something that was a normal occurrence in our lives. And I also loved the travel back in time, to when Barbara was sadly abused and victimized as a witch.

I must admit to being a tad impatient with our intrepid detective. He moved too slowly for my liking as it took him fourteen years to close the deal with our lovely Barbara.

But overall, I was hooked from the first page, and took very few breaks, as I was desperate to know how the story ended. I highly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a ghostly paranormal written in an old-world style. And I award it a fantastic 5 stars!

Read all the reviews and buy Till Life us do Part: https://www.amazon.com/Till-Life-Do-Us-Part-ebook/dp/B01GGKSQEY

Connect to Carmen via her blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

My second update is for Rick McBee and his book The Ghosts of Ukuthula set in South Africa.

About the book

By 1989 the majority of African nations have gained liberation from colonial rule. One by one, as these countries throw off the mantle of white European oppression, the pressure on others increases. In south Africa this only hardens the intransigence of the white rulers. The Republic of South Africa eventually remains as the last white minority dominated nation in Africa. A nation is about to explode.

In an attempt to lower the levels of violence, the moderate South African leaders begin negotiations to loosen the reins of apartheid. Allowing black Africans into the government is seen as a better option than having terrorism tear the nation apart. But, as with all periods of change, not everyone is happy with their new plans.

The hard liners of apartheid, within the secret police and ruling government, are out to maintain their power. They form an unholy alliance with the communist forces of the black liberation army under the control of Russia’s Colonel Petrov. Thus a ‘Third Force’ is formed within the country of South Africa, but controlled by outsiders.

The ‘Third Force” is bent on increasing tensions and violence between the black African tribes and white Africans ruling the country. The Fascist Afrikaners believe that black violence will provoke a backlash from the white community and allow apartheid to be reinstated in full force. The Communists believe that this same violence will result in a black African uprising. They want chaos so they can take complete control of the country and kick out the whites.

The most recent review on Amazon and Goodreads

Intervention on February 3, 2017

Jacob Nkwe, aka Zulu, was CIA and worked for Jim Collins, a director in the state department. Zulu’s mission was to collect intel on Colonel Petrov, a Russian who led a force trying to prevent a black coalition government in South Africa. Petrov was going to put his own people in power and steal the county’s resources. When Zulu’s office building in Pretoria was bombed, he went ghost and got a job at a game park in Namibia. He also got in a gang smuggling weapons for diamonds with half brother, Bakai. Debbie Kotzee, the park manager, had an affair with Zulu, but was linked to the South African Secret Police. At this point McBee ups the plot’s intensity as his characters escape danger and save South Africa’s future.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Ukuthula-Rick-McBee-ebook/dp/B01GNGCKHK

Also by Rick McBee

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Rick-McBee/e/B001K8HIXI

Connect to Richard via his blog: https://rickmcbee.me

The final update today is for author Malia Ann Haberman and the second book in The Chase Tinker Series, Chase Tinker and the House of Secrets.

About the book

After spending the summer at his grandfather’s gigantic, incredibly magical house, thirteen-year-old Chase Tinker thought things couldn’t get any more bizarre, or that the secrets and lies couldn’t get any worse, but he was wrong.

As summer turns into Autumn, join Chase and his family for even more magical craziness. Craziness that will include: the sneezing of strange powers, the reappearance of the wicked Marlowe family, another frightening kidnapping, the discovery of a mysterious, magical Japanese-American girl, a dangerous rescue mission, and a secret so mind-boggling, it will lead to a shocking climatic finish that will turn Chase’s world completely upside down.

Fantastic Read! on April 24, 2017

This is the second book in The Chase Tinker series. I absolutely loved it!

Chase Tinker is a wonderful character and I really liked him from the first time I met him in the first book. I have enjoyed watching his development from a frustrated teen into someone who I would be proud to know.

In this second book, which is told mostly from Chase’s point of view though other characters also have their say, Chase finds himself having to deal with new magical powers that he struggles to control. Not only that, the Marlowe’s are still intent on finding the Relic hidden in the attic of the Tinker house. Shocking secrets are revealed and a new face is introduced. Nori is the same age as Chase and is a cousin to Chase, Andy and Janie.

This is a wonderful story full of adventure, danger and mystery, and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat as Chase, Andy, Nori and Persephone face danger once more. There are several twists and turns that keep a reader guessing. I found myself on a roller coaster of emotion from beginning to end. There’s a huge fight scene full of action and danger, which was described in such detail that I could picture it in my mind with ease. This fight leads to a shocking accident that brought tears to my eyes. I reached the end of the book with a little bit of sadness, as I didn’t want the story to end. This book doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but it still left me looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny, as soon as possible.

Malia Ann Haberman has written a entertaining and exciting story for middle grade children. This is the sequel to her debut book. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and imaginative. The flow is wonderful too. I would definitely read more of her books in the future.

I highly recommend this book to middle grade readers aged 9 to 14. However, I also recommend this book (and series) to adults who love reading middle grade fantasy, or to those who are fans of books like Harry Potter.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Chase-Tinker-House-Secrets-Book-ebook/dp/B01LWR2L2O/

Other books in the series and also by Malia Ann Haberman

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Find out more about Malia Ann Haberman and her books: https://www.amazon.com/Malia-Ann-Haberman/e/B009CJ0DNE

Connect to Malia Ann Haberman via her blog: https://maliaannhaberman.wordpress.com

Thank you for dropping by today and it would be great if you could share the news from these authors by hitting a couple of share buttons on your way out the door.. thank you Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Dracula’s Mistress by Carmen Stefanescu


Welcome to new author on the shelves Carmen Stefanescu, with her gothic paranormal Dracula’s Mistress. Only released on March 15th it is already receiving great reviews.

About Dracula’s Mistress

From the day that the powerful, brave and merciless Vlad III Basarab, a descendant of the Draculesti family—better known to most people as the infamous vampire Dracula—ascends the throne, he knows only battles, betrayal and intrigue.

Evil grips the town of Targoviste, capital residence of Walachia. The secrets behind the stone walls of the palace are as dark and violent as a winter’s night, as terrifying as the prince’s deeds. Dead bodies, drained of blood and missing their little finger keep appearing in the streets at night.

Lovely, smart, determined, Angela Oltenescu ignores all the aggressive rumors and her mother’s warning regarding Vlad. Will she suffer the consequences of falling in love with a man nicknamed Dracula by his enemies—an infamous creature of the night?

Rich, sly, treacherous, Marin Craioveanu, a powerful landlord, craves the same woman loved by Vlad. Marin’s hatred toward the prince will make him an ally to Handsome Radu, Vlad’s brother and Sultan’s friend, ready to sell the country to the Ottomans to get rid of his rival.

Dracula’s Mistress will awe legions of fans of Gothic literature, paranormal and historical fiction.

Two of the recent reviews for Dracula’s Mistress

Enjoyable read on April 3, 2017

Dracula’s Mistress Kindle Edition by Carmen Stefanescu (Author) starts out in 1462 with the introduction of Angela who is at the palace with her father Gregore, a military man and confident to the Prince. Tension and action is instantly introduced to the story conflicting the thrown and wealthy noblemen with mention of the blood shed in building the castle by many not used to hard labor died. The walls of the palace are proverbially “haunted” with their blood. The tension of who will succeed or maintain the thrown adds to the tension.

The story progresses on and enters the love interest who ascends to the throne, a descendant of the Draculesti family—more widely known as Dracula, the vampire. And here is where the dark, secret story behind the palace’s walls comes alive. Angela, young and naïve and clearly enamored with the story’s love interest, Dracula, ignores the rumors.

As if that’s not conflict enough there is a love triangle involved to complicate matters further. The story progresses at a fast clip that holds interest. Interspersed on the action and story line are beautifully crafted clothing, manners, and appropriate historical factors. Without retelling this entire well-written story, suffice it to say it will hold interest and for me was very enjoyable. A must read for Gothic paranormal fans

on April 4, 2017

This book was an unusual deviation for me, but I occasionally get in the mood for historical fiction, and lately I’ve watched a ton of old Dracula movies, so I was drawn in by this title.

Lots of betrayal and secrets scattered throughout this gothic tale, kept my interest although I did have to stop reading sometimes to get the hairs on my neck to go down. We are dealing with Dracula’s descendant, so we expect dark eeriness and lifeless bodies, but author Stefanescu wove an unusual story together that keeps readers intrigued despite its gory details.

I appreciated the character, Angela, being a brave woman. Every novel needs one. But I almost jumped out of my skin during her exploits and going out into the dark evenings might become more rare for me.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Draculas-Mistress-Carmen-Stefanescu-ebook/dp/B06XNW7RXD

Also by Carmen Stefanescu

One of the excellent reviews for Till Life us Do Part

A compelling novel that delves into the arena of past life regression and reincarnation. The author has put an original twist on the subject of souls crossing decades, even centuries. Barbara Heyer is gifted with the ability to communicate with spirits of the departed. But when her brother is suspected of murdering his girlfriend, Barbara’s life careens with others in ways she never expected—particularly when handsome detective Patrick Fisher is assigned to the case.

The author deftly juggles multiple storylines and plots throughout this engaging novel—Barbara and Patrick, a young girl named Catherine who knows far more than possible for her age, a doomed centuries-old love affair, and deceptive dealings in Patrick’s police department. Part murder mystery, part romance, and part supernatural journey, TILL LIFE DO US PART is a book filled with multiple twists, turns, and surprising revelations. The author’s take on reincarnation is uniquely presented and richly rewarding for the reader.

When the book shifts in time, you are transported to another age, as vividly realized as present day in the author’s capable hands. The historical setting is superb, a time when just whispers of witchcraft could send someone to the stake. Tie all of these elements together for an explosive finish in the present day, and you have a riveting story that stays with you long after you close the cover.

About Carmen Stefanescu

Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Connect to Carmen

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6624397.Carmen_Stefanescu
Blog: http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Carmen_Books
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/carmens007/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carmen-Stefanescu-Books/499245716760283
Google: https://plus.google.com/117216040843648957646/posts

Thank you for dropping in today and if you would like to join Carmen on the shelves of the bookstore, please check this post. Thanks Sally

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/