Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday November 15th 2019 -#Xmas Carol Taylor #Maths Jennie Fitzkee – #Interview Colleen M. Chesebro with Darlene Foster


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

The first author today is our food expert Carol Taylor who shares some Christmas trivia, tips and some awful jumpers!!! and news that her own farm bred turkey will be gracing their table this year. Guaranteed free range, highest welfare standards and organic. Not all of us can say that when we buy a supermarket frozen or fresh chicken!  Anyway here is a snippet and I recommend that you head over and read the rest.

Christmas…In my house…Traditions, Treats and a touch of Trivia…

Good afternoon…A lovely here though the morning was a tad chilly…Picked up some lovely fennel and some beautiful eggplants from the Kings Project Farmers market also some beautiful peppercorns and some other fresh vegetables…Next Friday will be the start of my sample Christmas menus…I will be featuring more plant-based menus as I know many people are changing and cooking with more vegetables, lentil/beans all of which I love but the menfolk here not so much…so there will also be some recipes with fish or chicken…

Today I am reposting a post from last November which I hope you enjoy…x

Christmas stockings gingerbread houses

Please head over to enjoy, especially those jumpers: Carol Taylor – Christmas Traditions, Treats and Trivia

You can find all of Carol’s posts: Carol Taylor’s Food and Cookery Column 2019

The next post that caught my attention is from Jennie Fitzkee who has been teaching pre-school children for well over thirty years, and once you read Jennie’s posts, you realise how very lucky those children are.

Hands-on Maths for Children

Often, in the flow of our day, there are unplanned learning opportunities. Typically, this is when some of the best learning and the most fun happens. Recently we were playing with Squigz, a toy with multiple sized rubber pieces of various colors that have suction cups for building and attaching. When it was time to clean up, we collected all the pieces, fifty to be exact. In order to make sure we had all fifty, we began lining up and counting the pieces by color.

Head over to read the rest of this wonderful post: Jennie Fitzkee – Hands-on Maths for Children

And two of my favourite people on one page with Conversations with Colleen Chesebro and her guest YA author Darlene Foster talking about the well loved Amanda Travel series and other aspects of Darlene’s life.

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you one of my favorite award-winning children’s authors, Darlene Foster. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. This is Darlene’s second visit to my blog. We had so much fun last time, she couldn’t wait to stop around again!

Darlene Foster writes the kind of children’s books that I would have loved to read as a child. Pull up a seat and stay awhile. Let’s talk writing!

What kind of research do you do for a children’s book, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Find out the answer to that question and enjoy the rest of the interview: Colleen Chesebro meets Darlene Foster

Thank you very much for dropping in and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Colleen M. Chesebro, Sally Harris and Sandra J. Jackson


Welcome to the second of the week’s updates with reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author with a recent review is Colleen M. Chesebro for The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy

About the book

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative. Magnolia Forester becomes her legal guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swamp land Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.

But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.

As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, Blake, and Cash, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 22, 2019 James rated it Five Stars

The Heart Stone Chronicles by Colleen M. Chesebro begins with a novel titled The Swamp Fairy. After reading another book by the author–about myths, magic, and fairies–I wanted to read a full-length story. It looks like this might be a new series, which is exciting because I really enjoyed this debut, even though I’m not a regular reader in the fantasy genre.

Abigale grew up in Chicago and always knew she had a connection to animals. As she grows up, she learns she can speak to them in her mind, and often, she has other new talents developing. Unfortunately, her mother passes away before they can have a legitimate conversation about the magic in their family. Abigale’s father, who is addicted to alcohol and drugs, has disappeared. He is unable to take care of his daughter, so a neighbor and close family friend steps in. Luckily, Abigale’s mother left behind a detailed estate plan: Abigale will move to Florida to live with her father’s sister, and she must never sell the land that her family has owned for centuries. Once Abigale moves, she bonds with her aunt, develops new friends, and makes a few enemies because she won’t approve the sale of the land to a neighbor. What’s going on in this small town?

Chesebro has a fluid and easily readable style and tone to her writing. Though fantasy, it’s not extensive. We know there is a world of fairies and magic. We witness moments of inexplicable situations. We love when the evil characters get their comeuppance with the assistance of a bit o’ magic. But the core of the story is a young girl coming into her own after her parents die/disappear, learning to make new friends, and figuring out how to stop someone from hurting her. Young adults would definitely enjoy this book, but as an adult guy, I also found it pretty solid. It offers a lot of the same vibes I enjoy in a cozy mystery but adds an element of magic and hope for the future. Abigale is a lovely heroine, and she behaves very well for a teenager… then again, not all are wild and rambunctious as we often see in YA stories. I like the variation in this tale.

I do hope this becomes a series, as I’d love to explore what happens with Abigale’s potential new love interest, her relationship with the fairies on her land, and the potential re-appearance of her father. I suspect there is a story there too… kudos for developing a new fan, Ms. Chesebro. Thanks for this excellent story.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MU69MXT

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Stone-Chronicles-Swamp-Fairy-ebook/dp/B01MU69MXT

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read all the reviews and by the books: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

Read more reviews and follow Colleen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16254415.Colleen_M_Chesebro

Connect to Colleen via her blog: https://colleenchesebro.com/

The second author is Sally Harris who has received recent reviews for her debut novel Haverscroft.

About the Book

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 25, 2019 WndyJW rated it really liked it

This was my first spooky book of 2019 spooky book month and I loved it! It’s short, scary, well paced, great characters, and lots of suspense. A creepy old house, strange sounds, odd smells, neighbors who know more than they’re saying, scared kids, scared house cleaner, distracted husband, wife/mother questioning her own sanity, this book has it all and handles it all very well.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/S.-A.-Harris/e/B07MYMTNWN

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/S.-A.-Harris/e/B07MYMTNWN

Follow S.A. Harris on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1375010.S_A_Harris

Connect to Sally Harris via her website:https://www.saharrisauthor.com

And the next author with recent reviews is Sandra J. Jackson… for The Escape Series Book 2 – Catching Butterflies: Search for Home

About the book

April and Beth have escaped, and their captor is dead. Freedom is in their grasp – if only they knew where they were.

With some memories returning, April and Beth struggle to find answers to their questions. What they know is that they’ve been vaccinated against a strange virus. But what happened to their family, and to the rest of the world?

As they head out, they stumble onto the compound where their nightmare began, but the empty building only brings more mystery into their lives. Soon, they encounter others wandering on the numerous trails throughout the woods. For April, finding her family is priority one; for Beth, it’s sticking to the trails.

How can April ever convince her to leave the forest… and why are they being hunted?

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R9NBC2B

and on Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Catching-Butterflies-Search-Home-Escape-ebook/dp/B07R9NBC2B/

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read other reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her blog: https://sandrajjackson.wordpress.com/

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Colleen M. Chesebro, Billy Ray Chitwood, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne


The first author with a recent review is Colleen M. Chesebro for The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy

About the book

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester, recently orphaned and a ward of the State of Illinois moves from Chicago to Florida to live with her aunt, her last living relative. Magnolia Forester becomes her legal guardian, and together they claim an ancient inheritance; land that belonged to Abby’s mother’s family for generations.

Holding onto the only piece of her mother Abby has left, a calcite pendant and her mother’s most sacred possession, she discovers the truth of her legacy. The pendant is more significant than she could possibly imagine. Forged from a giant mystical heart-shaped stone found on the very swamp land Abby now owns, it holds the power of her ancestors.

But with that power comes greater responsibility, one that pits her against Rafe Cobb, a greedy land developer, who will stop at nothing to own Abby’s swamp land.

As Abby learns to be part of a family again and explores her love of horses with friends, Savanna, Blake, and Cash, the swamp slowly gives up some of its secrets. She is summoned by a primeval nymph, who teaches Abby that her true destiny is to protect the nymphs from evil in an ever-changing modern world.

Can Abby save the swamp and the Naiad Nymph Clan from certain destruction before it is too late?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Mar 11, 2019 K.D. Dowdall rated it Five Stars

This mystical story is bound to capture your heart. Abigale Forester is only fourteen years old, recently orphaned, and has been sent to live with her Aunt Magnolia Forester, a woman she has never met, and is now her legal Guardian. Abigale was born with mystical gifts, inherited from her mother, along with a few hundred acres of swamp land that has been handed down for generations in her family.

This is no ordinary swamp. It is a place where mystical things happens, another realm, that is critical for the safety of mankind. Abigale has no idea what this has to do with her, but she will soon find out. In the meantime, a corrupt, greedy, and wealthy man as plans of his own to destroy the swamp and possibly Abigale and her aunt, as a form of revenge.

Danger is everywhere for Abigale as she tries to adjust to her new life. When the truth about the swamp legacy is revealed to her, Abigale is forced to make a decision about the swamp legacy and her choice is a dangerous one.

I highly recommend this mystical mystery that is so well written, by author Colleen M. Chesebro, that the story itself almost leaps off of the pages, right into your reality. It is that good. FIVE STARS

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MU69MXT

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Stone-Chronicles-Swamp-Fairy-ebook/dp/B01MU69MXT

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read all the reviews and by the books: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

Read more reviews and follow Colleen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16254415.Colleen_M_Chesebro

Connect to Colleen via her blog: https://colleenchesebro.com/

And a recent review for the latest release by Billy Ray Chitwood -The Pickett Factor

About the book

A novel inspired by true events but fictionalized in its narrative… Some strange criminal elements are at work in the small town of Mackland, PA: a Mackland patrol officer is ambushed and murdered in 2013; a mother and common law wife goes missing in 2015; the missing woman’s father is killed in a hunting accident in 2016 (was he getting too close to some truths about his daughter’s disappearance?); a mother and daughter are brutally murdered in 2014 – the mother’s & daughter’s throats are slashed, then shot separately in their bedrooms (the daughter went to high school with the missing woman’s daughter); at least two drug gangs operate in the small town, brazenly attacking citizens and bragging about bigger crimes they’ve committed…there’s more, and the town has only 11,000 + population.

The lovely town of Mackland has historic eminence and receives thousands of visitors every year.Attorney at Law Brady Pickett of neighboring large city of Graniteville, PA, only twenty minutes from Mackland, takes up the gauntlet after a young man phones from prison to tell Pickett he has been ‘railroaded’ with false drug charges and murder charges are to be forthcoming. Brady Pickett visits the young inmate in Lewisburg and tapes the details of the young man’s declaration of innocence and becomes a strong believer in the verity of the taped testimony.

Along with his old college friend, now Chief of Police in Mackland, Ed Billups, and, along with JD Brewer, a seasoned special investigator and friend, the three men and those police officers that can be trusted, fight an uphill battle to relieve the small town of its urchins of evil. There is also a very likely connection to one or more of the bigger Pennsylvania cities in the drug business that has come to the small town.This novel has a lovely narrative flow with some well-placed levity and folksy humor, and the characters are drawn with some deft strokes of the pen. While at times tense and absorbing, it is also a delightful novel, all brought together by an author of sixteen other romance, mystery/suspense novels, and memoirs. It is a novel that mystery and suspense lovers will without doubt enjoy.

And a recent review for the book

John W. Howell 5.0 out of 5 starsAn Engaging Mystery March 15, 2019

Billy Ray Chitwood is an author who has a discernable style that you could love, or if insecure you could hate. You see it takes a degree of self-confidence to appreciate Billy Ray’s engaging brand of prose fully. He serves up a cast of characters who resemble folks you know. He then tells a whole bunch about how they feel and what makes them tick. On top of that, he places the characters into a plausible situation that is akin to mayhem and dares them to solve their problems.

While the reader is working through all this complexity, Billy Ray serves up some drinks at a plush country club or restaurant and seems to enjoy the company of those around him. Now I’m not saying Billy Ray does this, but his characters give the reader the impression that Billy Ray is right there with them having the time of his life.

If you want a mystery that will keep you engaged, entertained, and near the edge of your seat at times, pick up The Pickett Factor and have a good time.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JY93H5Z

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pickett-Factor-Billy-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B07JY93H5Z

A small selection of other books by Billy Ray Chitwood

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

Connect to Billy Ray via his website: https://brchitwood.com

My final author with a recent review for her memoir My Life at Sweetbriar : A Life Changed by Horses, is Deanie Humphrys-Dunne.

About My Life at Sweetbriar

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion horseback rider? The problem is, you were born with a disability. Doctors tell your parents you’ll never walk, let alone ride. What will happen next? What does her dad do that changes her life? Will a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story of her journey. Even if Deanie prevails, will she find exactly the right horse to help her win?

One of the recent reviews for the book

shimsl 5.0 out of 5 stars A positive true story January 20, 2019

This is a positive story about a girl born with cerebral palsy, who despite a diagnosis she will never walk, let alone ride a horse, proves the doctors wrong. A true story, the author describes her own youth in detail through her special love of horses, and one horse in particular named Peach. They go on to win many championships together, but winning does not come without struggle and setbacks. The author learned from her many mistakes as she was gently guided down a challenging path by two very supportive parents. A take-away for young readers will be that perseverence (not ever giving up) is key to success, that learning from your mistakes is a good thing, and that an understanding and supportive family is truly a blessing.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Sweetbrier-Changed-Horses-ebook/dp/B0711P67DM

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Life-Sweetbrier-Changed-Horses-ebook/dp/B0711P67DM

Also by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/e/B003FFS15S

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/e/B003FFS15

Follow Deanie Humphrys- Dunne on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3309880.Deanie_Humphrys_Dunne

Connect to Deanie on her website: http://www.childrensbookswithlifelessons.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – Fairies, Myths and Magic – A Summer Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro


I am delighted to review the lovely book by Colleen M. Chesebro, Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration.

About the collection.

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.

My review for the book – Five Stars

I don’t really do wet and grey winters so I was badly in need of a tonic. This was very effectively supplied by the delightful collection of poetry and short stories by Colleen Chesebro.

Fairies have fascinated me since childhood, but my knowledge of the elves, pixies and other magical creatures, pales in comparison to that of the author. Clearly an observer of nature and the hidden worlds that only a chosen few have seen, she brings her cast of players to life delightfully. You will discover the different forms of fairy you might meet if you are lucky during a walk in a garden or lane, and you will find out about a chance encounter that  was life changing.

You will also be introduced to some humans such as Roger who find themselves living in close proximity to these ethereal creatures. And there is definitely mischief afoot when two pixies get their hand on a potent spell… One of my favourite poems was The Fairy Spider’s Lair, but to be honest, I was spoiled for choice.

There is so much to enjoy in this book that celebrates the magic world and summer, that I am sure that you too will lose yourself in its pages. Great for all ages and children will love it too.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Fairies-Myths-Magic-Summer-Celebration-ebook/dp/B07DTSBH4T

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fairies-Myths-Magic-Summer-Celebration-ebook/dp/B07DTSBH4T

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B01N9MV2RX

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fairies-Myths-Magic-Summer-Celebration-ebook/dp/B07DTSBH4T

Read more reviews and follow Colleen Chesebro on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16254415.Colleen_M_Chesebro

About Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer and author of YA fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical which may mean that she could be experiencing her second childhood – or not. That part of her life hasn’t been fully decided yet.

A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing and storytelling. These days she resides in the fantasy realm of the Fairy Whisperer where she writes the magical poetry and stories that the fairy nymphs whisper to her in her dreams.

Colleen won the Little and Laugh Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community.com in November 2017 for her piece, called, “The Bus Stop.” Her debut novel, “The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy,” won gold in the 2017 AuthorsDB.com cover contest.

Colleen lives in Colorado with her husband. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and friends. She also loves gardening, reading, and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art.

Connect to Colleen.

Website: https://colleenchesebro.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/16254415.Colleen_M_Chesebro
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColleenChesebro
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colleen.chesebro.3

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will enjoy reading Fairies, Myths & Magic – Thanks Sally.