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
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
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.
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.