Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – Share your Children’s book review – The Case of the Mystery of the Bells: Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, Book 6 by Janice Spina reviewed by Victoria Zigler


Welcome to the new series where you can share your reviews for any children’s books you have read recently and posted on your blog, Amazon, Goodreads or any other online bookstore. If you would like more details here is the post that explains how it works: Showcasing Children’s books

Today our reviewer is children’s author Victoria Zigler with her review for The Case of the Mystery of the Bells: Davey & Derek Junior Detectives, Book 6 by Janice Spina

About the book

Step into another magical and fun adventure with the twin detectives to solve this new mystery. There are clues at every turn, ghostly dreams with strange messages, and a surprise visitor that shakes things up. Even Aunt Gigi and Mianna are at a loss to provide any assistance to the boys.
Will Davey & Derek be able to solve this mystery of the bells? Where do they turn? Will they be able to put all the clues together? Can they use their new birthday gifts in this adventure? Find out what the boys do in this magical mystery.

Victoria’s review for the book

Feb 08, 2020 Victoria Zigler rated it Five Stars

This was another great mystery by this author, which makes for a fun addition to this series, as well as an enjoyable read in its own right. The characters are wonderful, and I’m enjoying watching them grow and learn, while the story – which is a fantastic combination of mystery and paranormal elements – unfolds.

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

A small selection of other books by Janice Spina

Janice Spina, buy:Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina 

A small selection of books by the reviewer Victoria Zigler

One of the reviews for Witchlet on Goodreads

Robbie Cheadle rated it Four Stars

The Witchlet is a lovely story about a nine year old girl, Paige, who is a witch. Paige is an obliging girl who is happy to assist other people in need but she has a quick temper and bears a lot of unjustified guilt due to an unfortunate accident, when she was only three years old, when her uncontrolled magic powers resulted in her cousin being injured and permanently disfigured. Paige’s aunt has never forgiven her and when she comes to visit, Paige’s mother hides all indications that she is a witch.

Paige is frustrated and the reasons are threefold: 1. her father was not able to cope with the idea of her being a witch and left her and her mother to manage on their own, 2. people do not have faith in her abilities initially due to her age and she is tired of being treated like a child, although she is one and her powers don’t change that fact, and 3. her guilt and her aunt’s attitude towards her which are things she has been unable to change.

In this book, Paige performs an act of magic which saves the life of a three year old girl, a feat for which the girl’s grandmother is extremely grateful. When Paige’s aunt comes to visit after this piece of magic, certain disclosures and events are put in motion which will change life for Paige. Will these changes result in positive changes to Paige’s life? You’ll have to read the book to find out

Victoria Zigler, Buy: Amazon UK – and : Amazon US – Follow Victoria on: Goodreads – Website: Victoria Zigler – Twitter: @VictoriaZigler

 

I think you get the idea of how this works and it would be great if you could help promote children’s books by sharing your reviews with us.. just put the link to one or two in the comments and if I need more information from you I will ask you to email me..

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #YAParanormalFantasy, Heather Kindt, #HistoricalMystery Amy M. Reade, #Children’s Janice Spina


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Heather Kindt with a review for her recent release, a YA Paranormal Fantasy, The Green Door (The Eternal Artifacts Book 1)

About the book

The game was supposed to be easy… enter the door, find the object, collect the prize money.

But nothing is ever that easy for Meg Covington. Her dad keeps a roof over her head, but college is out of the question. Her best friend, Brek, will leave for school, and she’ll be trapped in her hometown—that is until Meg discovers the flyer for Rosenbaum’s game hanging in the entryway of the record store.

Within the basement of the mansion lies the white passage, a hallway lined with colorful doors. When each door turns out to be a portal to another world, things get complicated quickly. If they find the object within the world, Meg will take her first step towards freedom. But is it really just a game, or a one-way ticket to something much more dangerous?

The Green Door is the first book in Heather Kindt’s young adult fantasy series. If you like strong female leads, adventure, snarky attitudes, and sexy sirens, then you’ll love the first installment in the Eternal Artifacts series.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D.L. Finn 4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed what was behind the door.  Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2020

“The Green Door” is a YA fantasy that focuses on the lives of two teens in their last year of high school. Meg works at a record store to make ends meet at home, while her best friend, Brek, is preparing for college. They find a flyer about a game, and the two teens try it. The first step is to choose a door that is based on the money awarded if they complete the task. The action starts the moment they open the door. I enjoyed what was behind the entrance and the unknown world’s storyline that included magic. I liked the friendship between Meg and Brek and how protective they were of each other. Then enters someone from their school, and it sets up a romantic triangle. There are a couple of adult scenes in this story; otherwise, this would be an enjoyable read for younger readers too. The story is a quest with some moral decisions. The book ends at a place where some questions were answered, but others were left unanswered for the next book — which I will be reading.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Heather Kindt

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Heather: Goodreads

Connect to Heather via her website: Heather Kindt

The next book to receive a recent review is Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery (Cape May Historical Mystery Collection Book 1) by USA Today Bestselling author Amy M. Reade

About the book

The year is 1714. Two years have passed since Ruth Hanover vanished into the wilderness of the New Jersey colony without a trace, leaving behind her husband, William, and their daughter, Sarah. Though William and Sarah have never stopped hoping that Ruth will return, as time goes by it becomes less and less likely they will ever see her again.

Now William is acting strangely. He won’t tell Sarah why he’s conducting business with a mysterious stranger in the middle of the night, he won’t explain the sudden increase in his income, and he won’t share with her what people in town are
saying about her mother’s disappearance.

When the time comes for Sarah to face her father’s secrets and figure out why her mother never came home that December day in 1712, what she learns will shock her tiny community on the New Jersey cape and leave her fighting for her life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

C. Raleigh 5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery in Colonial America  Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2020

As a lover of history and mystery, I couldn’t wait to start reading Cape Menace. I wasn’t disappointed. Sarah Hanover is an artful mix of a young Colonial girl living within the demands of her station and a maturing woman of intellect, ingenuity, and independence. The pall of her mother’s unsolved disappearance never dissipates as bits and pieces of information surface over time. I enjoyed the scenes of both Sarah and her father acting as apothecary for the settlement, as well as the daily life of early 18th century colonists and the layers of society that exist even in the newest communities. Sarah’s perseverance in discovering what happened to her mother is rewarded in the end with a satisfying, and yet poignant, realization. I look forward to the other books in the Cape May Historical Mystery series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Amy M. Reade

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Amy on : Goodreads

Connect to Amy via her blog: Amy Reade at WordPress

And the final author today is award winning children’s author Janice Spina for the most recent in the Abby & Holly Series Book 5: The Copper Key

About the book

The main protagonists, cousins Abby and Holly, find paintings by a young teenager, from the past with a copper key taped to the back of one of her paintings. This teen’s remains were found in their attic in Book 4.

The girls’ search begins to find the source of this key. They hope to use this key to unlock secrets or something valuable from the past. Will this key help uncover another mystery for the cousins? How far will the girls go in their search for truth or will they have to go back to the past? Will they be able to return home without somehow changing history forever?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

May 25, 2020 Frances B. rated it Five Stars – it was amazing

In Book 5 of the Abby & Holly series, The Copper Key, cousins Abby and Holly are compelled to solve the mystery behind an old copper key they find in the attic of Abby’s home. They are joined in their sleuthing by resident ghosts Felicity and Minerva as they travel back in time to discover what the key unlocks. Suspense, plot twists, and excitement are featured as we learn what the girls uncover. Author Janice Spina does a great job of character development and seamlessly weaving themes of problem solving, cooperation, and friendship into the book. Fans of this series will love this latest installment, as I did! Middle school kids and young teens will be looking forward to Abby & Holly’s next adventure!

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Other books in the series

The selection of other children’s books

 Also as J.E. Spina

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Janice: Goodreads

Connect to Janice via her blog: Jem’s Books

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Fantasy Jemima Pett, #Children’s Janice Spina, #Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Jemima Pett

When Jemima Pett discovered the words ‘portfolio career’ she realised she was an example of a new trend – having not only a number of different jobs, but in totally different fields. These included social work, business management, computer technology, environmental research. The thread running through all of them was communication – and that continued in her spare time with writing and editing club magazines, manuals, reports… Jemima loved words, loved to learn and to apply her learning to the real world.

Eventually the world just wasn’t big enough, and so she went back to inventing her own, as she had as a child. First came the Realms, a feudal England run by princes in castles who just happen to be guinea pigs – although you can read them as people equally well. Then came the Viridian System, a planetary area on the outskirts of known space where a frontier mentality mixes with big business and tourism. Her next project could be anything from a D&D fantasy type world, to a children’s picture book about the real adventures of her guinea pigs, who live with her in a small village in Norfolk, UK.

A selection of books by Jemima Pett

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A recent review for Chronicles of the Marsh

A great recap of the adventures of King Fred and Princeling George, plus some new information the reader will need to know before the final book comes out.

Jemima Pett, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Blog Jemima PettGoodreads:Jemima PettTwitter: @jemima_pett

Meet Janice Spina

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 13 children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat, Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier, The First Star, Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1, and six MG/PT/YA books, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Books 1-6, Abby & Holly Series BookS 1-4, copy editor, blogger, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors.

Hunting Mariah is her first novel to be published under J.E. Spina. She published her second novel, a paranormal/mystery/romance, How Far Is Heaven, June 2016. Book 3 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives was published in August 2016 and Book 4 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series in December on 2016. An Angel Among Us, a short story collection, was published in March 2017 and Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, a children’s book, in May 2017. Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Mariah’s Revenge, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier and Abby & Holly School Dance, Books 1 & 2 in a series were published in 2018. Janice published her first fairy tale in 2019, The First Star.

A selection of books by Janice Spina

One of the recent reviews for Abby & Holly- The Copper Key

Michelle Clements James 5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty to keep the reader turning the page  Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2020

Cousins, Abby and Holly, are back with another mystery to solve. This time the mystery-solving-duo have found an old copper key and are determined to discover how it got into Abby’s attic and what did it open? Could solving the mystery put the girls in danger? Their ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva, are once again called upon to mitigate any peril the girls find themselves in.

Once again, Janice Spina has created a story to appeal to both girls and boys with characters who are well-drawn and a story that is well developed. The books in this series have a lot of excitement and suspense to keep the reader turning the page. As will all her books for children, the author has created clean-reading for middle-grade students and young teens.

Janice Spina, buy:Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina

Meet Charles E. Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn’t working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. Truthfully, his tales of adventure are much more interesting than his real life, so skip the bio and dive into the action.

A selection of books by Charles Yallowitz

One of the recent reviews for War of Nytefall: Eradication on Goodreads

Feb 27, 2020 Victoria Zigler rated it Five Stars

OK, WOW! If it wasn’t for my reading time being more limited this week, I could have totally read this book in one sitting! It’s an amazing addition to the series, which was a gripping read. It has an exciting plot, which alternates between being an action-packed thrill ride and an emotional rollercoaster, with some delightful moments of comedy thrown in to give you a moment to catch your breath. The way these characters are evolving is wonderful, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Charles Yallowitz – Buy: Amazon US –  and:Amazon UK –  follow Charles : Goodreads –  Blog: Legends of Windemere BlogTwitter: @cyallowitz

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Childrens Janice Spina, #Romance Teagan Riordain Geneviene, #Poetry Sue Vincent


Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with recent reviews is author Janice Spina for her children’s book Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 2: Damara Helps Drystan Find His Roar

About the book

This the second book in the magical series about Drystan the dragon and his friends. These dragons are colorful, engaging and fun to read about. They teach children the importance of friendship, caring for one another, being kind to others, and it’s okay to be different. All dragons are of different colors and their names begin with the letter ‘D’ – a fun way for young children to learn the letter ‘D’ and colors.

In Book 2 a new dragon is introduced – Damara, a different dragon who does things her own way. As she is traveling by one day she spies a dragon, Drystan, in distress. She flies down to see what is wrong. It appears that Drystan has lost his roar. What caused Drystan to lose his roar? Can Damara help him get it back? Read this book in rhyme for a comical story that will delight your children. Watch for more books in this mystical series.

One of the reviews for the book

Sara123 5.0 out of 5 stars To Be Different is Okay!  Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2020

Author Janice Spina’s second book in her new series, “Drystan the Dragon and Friends” is a fine addition to her ever-growing list of books written for enriching the lives of young readers.

In the second volume, “Damara Helps Drystan Find His Roar”, Damara, a green dragon who is different than others, does not worry about what people say. She knows she’s not like everyone else, but owns her differences and is proud of who she is. This terrific message intertwines nicely with the little tale of Damara’s encounter with Drystan, who is also taught a lesson, courtesy of his new friend.

The illustrations are lovely, created by the author’s partner in life and work, Mr. John Spina. The terrific team’s growing library is impressive and recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A very small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Janice: Goodreads

Connect to Janice on her blog: Jem’s Books

The next author is Teagan Riordain Geneviene with a recent review for the romantic novelette Fiona Finch & the Pink Valentine

About the book

Put your feet up and enjoy a whimsical break with this quick, lighthearted story. There’s some romance, and a lot of silliness. It’s a steampunk/Victorian setting. You might call it a long-short story or a novelette.

This is a tale of an old lost valentine and the shenanigans that ensue when it turns up. Fiona Finch and her brother Steele – along with a helping “wing” from Quellie the duck, work to bring two long ago sweethearts back together. Even though it is a Valentine’s Day story, it does not include sex or passionate romance. It does, however, include a lot of imaginative fun.

One of the recent reviews for the book

tpolen 5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet HEA Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2020

I’ve read several books by this author and her creativity never ceases to amaze and delight me. This tale of a lost valentine from years ago and amusing matchmaking efforts at a masquerade ball is guaranteed to leave you with a smile. Although a quick read, character development certainly isn’t lacking, and you’ll feel as if you’ve spent time with friends by the end of this whimsical novelette. And did I mention the pet duck? An absolute scene-stealer. If you’re in the mood for a light read with a sweet happily ever after, look no further.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Read the reviews, buy the books : Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Teagan : Goodreads

Connect to Teagan via her blog: Teagan’s Books

The final author today is Sue Vincent with a review for her poetry collection Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection

About the collection

“The pen paints the souls longing in jewel tones.”

A collection of fifty-two poems of life, love and inspiration.

There are joys for which we cannot find expression, moments that have a depth of emotion that can only be shared in images. It is here that poetry comes into its own, for the pictures we paint with words can conjure all the emotions of the human heart. From solitude to passion, from aspiration to the quest for the soul’s inner light, we seek to find ways to share our journey through life, to witness our footsteps as we pass through its shifting sands and cast a reflection on time itself. The poet is both mirror and reflection, framing the images of a human life and giving them a beating heart.

One of the recent reviews for the poetry

Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2020

This collection of 52 poems by Sue Vincent is a gem. I’d give this book 6 stars if I could. It’s hard to put into words how moving I found Vincent’s poetry. The poems are free form reflections on the profound moments of life, the deep emotional wells of love, loss, and memories, the rhythms of nature reflected in our journeys, and the poignant journeys themselves.

It was almost impossible to pick out a few favorites, but I’m giving it a try: “I See You” is an exquisite poem about aging and the lasting echoes of youth that we carry inside our memories. “Flowers” (which makes me weepy just thinking about it) chronicles a woman’s life-stages in flowers from birth through death. Two touching poems are told from the point of view of someone watching a loved one sleep. They’re both gentle and heartachingly beautiful. “Just for a Moment” is a rare syllabic poem in the collection about the peace of love, and “Memory” about love lost.

Though the poems can be read in an hour or so, I would suggest savoring them. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Sue Vincent

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue: Goodreads

Connect to Sue via her blog: S.C. Vincent

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Supernatural Mae Clair, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Children’s Janice Spina


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

The first author is Mae Clair with a review for Book 2 of the Point Pleasant series… A Cold Tomorrow.

About the book

Where secrets make their home…

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive…

A recent review for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling paranormal read  Reviewed in the United States on March 17, 2020

Book 2 of the Point Pleasant Series starts off a few months after Book 1 ends but can be read as a stand-alone (not that I recommend skipping the first). Katie Lynch takes over as the lead character and shares the limelight with brothers Ryan and Caden Flynn.

Strange supernatural happenings are taking place in Point Pleasant—dead animals, UFOs, aliens, voices in the TNT bunker, and of course, Mothman sightings. Claire tangles in a secondary plot to mix things up a bit and provide some red-herrings. The plot is complex and the pace has to be quick in order to wrap it all up and still have time for some lovely character development.

The best plot won’t survive thin characters, and Claire doesn’t fall into that trap. Main characters, as well as secondary characters, are all unique and three-dimensional. Claire carves out time to provide an emotional foundation with a bit of backstory and to dive into their relationships with each other. I particularly like books that make me feel connected to the characters and this is one of those.

The Mothman becomes more intriguing as does Caden’s character and his connection to the creature. The emotion and compassion between them is particularly riveting, and I MUST read the next book for that reason. An excellent series with polished writing. I highly recommend A Cold Tomorrow to readers of paranormal thrillers and to those who enjoy urban legends.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

mae clair 2020

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mae: Goodreads

Connect to Mae via her Blog/Website: Mae Clair

The next author is Balroop Singh, with a review for her most recent poetry collection Moments We Love

About the collection

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

The late comedian, Richard Jeni, had a routine called ‘Love Songs.’ It chronicled how love songs on the radio were designed to specifically drive those who were not in relationships to the brink of suicide (the irony of Jeni’s death in 2007 by a self-inflicted gunshot wound is apparent).

You might wonder how that relates to Balroop Singh’s collection of poems, ‘Moments We Love.’ The author, in her preface, states that she looks for the reader to drink deeply of the emotions colored here. Yet poetry is transactional – not only what the poet brings in shaping these words, but what the reader brings with them when they open the book and read what is there.

The book is divided into three sections – Moments of Love, Moments of Harmony, and Moments that make Life. The poet’s style is free verse, stanzas of anywhere from three to five lines, more evocative of feeling than rhythm. Depending on your take in poetry, you might or might not prefer the style. But in every poem, Singh seeks to touch the reader gently, like a soft rain or a gentle breeze, not pushing the point as much as inviting the reader in to consider the moment.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on: Goodreads

Connect to Balroop via her blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress

The final review today is for the fourth book in the Abby and Holly Series: The Hidden Stairway by award winning children’s author Janice Spina..

About the book

Join the cousins, Abby and Holly, as they search for clues about who placed an urn up in their attic with the remains of a young girl who lived a century ago. Their old Victorian holds many secrets and the girls are determined to solve this mystery with the help of two ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva, who inhabit their home.

As the girls are searching for clues in their basement they discover a hidden stairway. Upon entering the stairway they find themselves unexpectedly catapulted back in time to a century ago. Will they be able to return with the answers to the mystery? If not, who will help them get back? Or, will they be forever lost in time?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Michelle Clements James 5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting adventure for Abby and Holly  Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2020

Abby and Holly are cousins who have special powers, they can see and speak to ghosts, and in this book, they find they can travel back in time with the reassurance that should anything go wrong, they will get help from their ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva. This opens an exciting new adventure for the girls, though it is quite worrisome for their mothers.
Once again, Janice Spina has created a riveting adventure for the cousins. I couldn’t put it down and I’m sure middle-grade readers will get wrapped up in the story as much as I did.

As with all of Spina’s books, there will be no objectionable language and there is always a life lesson – to be respectful to others, to be kind and considerate, to recognize and accept that there are differences in all of us. To parents, grandparents, and teachers – I recommend this be read aloud by children so you can have a lively discussion about the story and the lessons in ABBY & HOLLY SERIES, BOOK 4 – THE HIDDEN STAIRWAY. This is positively a 5-star book. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A very small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Janice: Goodreads

Connect to Janice on her blog: Jem’s Books

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Horror Jan Sikes, #Children’s Janice Spina, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Photography/Blogging Terri Webster Schrandt


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first author today with a wonderful selection of books that would make great gifts is award winning author Jan Sikes, and the featured book is her short story occult/horror themed Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide with a recent review.

About Voodoo or Destiny

Claire Winters is heartbroken when her husband of many years says he’s found a new love and wants a divorce. While having a pity party with her best friend, Jade, they come up with a daring idea. Together, they construct a Voodoo doll and with the help of several bottles of wine, create a ceremony to bring the same heartbreak to Daniel Winters as he brought to Claire. But do they go too far? You decide!

One of the recent reviews

Oct 16, 2019 S. Burke rated it five stars

Jan Sikes proves yet again just how diversely talented she is in this fast-paced and exciting read.

When Claire is betrayed by the husband she adores her pain soon turns to hunger for revenge. Assisted by her friend Jade who is related to an acknowledge Voodoo Queen in New Orleans, she constructs a Voodoo Doll.

Claire falls into a drunken sleep and awakens to find a fresh hell waiting. But, is it a hell of her own making? The author cleverly teases us with alternative possibilities.

Jan Sikes has a gift for creating memorable three-dimensional characters, and that’s often a very real challenge in a shorter read. We are permitted to see Claire’s pain, her sense of loss, and we can empathize and even understand her drunken desire to inflict pain back on her tormenters.

If you enjoy being tantalized, and want a fast and satisfying read, then I’d recommend this one.

A selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

And find more reviews and follow Jan: Goodreads

Connect to Jan via her website: Jan Sikes

Now something for the younger generation and the third book in the Abby and Holly Series: Secrets of the Trunk by award winning author Janice Spina..

About the book

Join Abby and Holly in Book 3 as the cousins discover a new presence in their old Victorian while they are cleaning out the library of old books. They are not sure if this specter is benign or otherwise. This being leads them to the old trunk they discovered in Book 2 which holds many secrets and puzzles that they feel compelled to solve.

They enlist the help of their ghost friend, Felicity, who inhabits their home. She is a benevolent entity that once lived in their house from a century ago. She watches over the girls and vows never to leave them unless they request her to do so.

There will be surprises and ghostly visits that will keep readers enthralled as Abby and Holly work together to uncover the secrets of the trunk.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Michelle Clements James 5.0 out of 5 stars The story book instills life lessons September 6, 2019

This is a skillfully written story that logically follows Book 2 in the series. Abby and Holly are determined to solve the mystery of the old trunk and elicit the help of their ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva. When things get a bit out of hand and turn dangerous, the girls turn to their moms and to Abby’s dad for help.

Abby and Holly are typical young middle-grade girls who are adventurous, sweet, kindhearted, and thoughtful. Their ghost friends are helpful and caring. All the characters are well-drawn and believable, that is unless you don’t believe in ghosts.

As with all the author’s children’s books, this book instills life lessons, especially that everyone should treat all others with respect. The life lessons introduced in Secrets of the Trunk are how to handle the unexpected and how to overcome disappointments.

I loved this book, as I have all the other middle-grade books by Janice Spina. I recommend it as a book for your middle-grade child to read by themselves or as a book you’ll read together.

A very small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Janice: Goodreads

Connect to Janice via her blog: Jem’s Books

The next author today with a wonderful selection of books for fantasy lovers, is D.Wallace Peach for Sunwielder which is now in audio version.

About Sunwielder

In a land on the brink of war, Gryff Worden discovers his family slaughtered, his farm in ruin.Mortally wounded, he stumbles upon a timekeeper, an old woman of the northern forests, one who tracks the infinite paths of each life. She offers him a sunwield, a medallion promising to return him to the pivotal choices that swayed his life’s journey. Her only condition—he must wear the bronze charm until the end.Now his story remakes itself, casting him backward in time to moments of decision and death. His old life gone, he no longer remembers the purpose of the medallion burning his chest. As he uncovers the sunwield’s power, new choices lead him on an epic adventure through war, death, friendship, life, and love.

One of the recent reviews for the book

In Sunwielder (2016), D. Wallace Peach’s fantasy world is not unlike Earth’s medieval world of hardworking commoners, feudal lords, and warring kingdoms. The hero Gryff wants only to be a farmer and raise horses when his entire family is wiped out by a man who hates him for no apparent reason. When he has the opportunity to change his past with the time traveling Sunwielder, given to him by a timekeeper from a neighboring land, he takes it without questioning the cost. Even though it means he must leave the pastoral beauty of his farm, the loving warmth of his family, and spend the next years as a soldier, fighting a battle his farmer self barely cares about, he takes it. His one promise to his wife when he married her was that he’d keep her safe. He doesn’t intend to break that promise. From the moment he dons the Sunwielder, his life is controlled by a future he isn’t sure of. All he knows is when the present doesn’t work out ‘right’, he dies and gets to try again.

This is a fast-paced story of undying love, baseless hate, and how a family’s life becomes the pawn between those two. One of the most beautiful parts of this story is simply the way Peach links her words. Read this:

“Nearly three hundred men in the great hall dropped to one knee, right knuckles to the floor, heads bowed.”

“Black oaks, dark with summer leaves, swathed the trail in shifting shadow. Shafts of sunlight speared the forest floor, altered only by the sway of branches in the heated wind.”

Peach has a way of picking exactly the right word to evoke so much more than the meaning would promise. Few are better at world building. This is highly recommended not only for those who love fantasies but those who enjoy a good military thriller.

A small selection of of other books by D.Wallace Peach

Read the reviews for buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Diana: Goodreads

Connect to Diana via her blog: Myths of the Mirror

And last but certainly not least, a book that can help you elevate your blog to a new level using images and is a great gift for you or other bloggers in the family. Better Blogging With Photography by Terri Webster Schrandt

About the Book

There is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a blogger, are you weary of constantly hunting for images to illustrate the subject of your blog posts?

Perhaps you are a new blogger struggling to get more readers. Or a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts.
This guidebook is designed to help you utilize your own images on your blog or website.

While free image sites abound, there are limitations to using so-called “free” images. Gone are the days when bloggers can innocently copy and paste an image from the web and paste it into their blog post.

What will you get out of this guide?

In each chapter I give easy but important tips for maximizing the use of images on your blog’s website and within each blog post.

Seven informative chapters walk you through–

  • the importance of using images;
  • the real dangers of using others’ copyrighted images;
  • easy ways to edit your images using free programs and apps;
  • building unending inspiration and content around your own images;
  • attracting readers with images used in quotations, blog link-ups, and other tools;
  • how social media sites link your images, and why you need them;
  • a list of image resources available.

After reading this short guidebook, you will want to grab your smart phone or inexpensive digital camera and start taking photos!

And extract from one of the recent reviews for the book

As a teacher author, I spend lots of time worrying about the legal and practical use of photos in my blogs (I have three of them). I’ve heard horror stories from efriends who ended up paying $thousands for photos they thought were free and ended up with someone’s copyright. Getting permissions and using public domain images–that’s the smart way to handle blog images but not as easy as it sounds. I have my own photographs but they usually look amateurish.

That’s why I picked up Terry Schrandt’s Better Blogging With Photography: How to Maximize Your Blog Using Your Own Images (Second Wind Leisure Publishing 2016). I use tons of pictures in blog posts, social media, and books I write. Making sure they’re all legal is a challenge. I know just enough about copyright law to worry that despite my best efforts, I’m breaking the law. Terry points out the solution is pretty simple: Make your own pictures.

The book starts by asking one simple question:

“Are you a new blogger struggling to get more readers? Are you a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts? Do you feel there is something missing from your blog or website?”

 Read all the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Terri: Goodreads

Connect to Terri via her website: Second Wind Leisure

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