Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews -#Horses Jan Sikes, #Comingofage Bette A. Stevens, #Romance Ritu Bhathal


Welcome to the first of the cafe updates for the week, with recent reviews for authors in the cafe and bookstore.

The first author is award winning Jan Sikes with a recent review for the short story Satin and Cinders

About the story

A wild black stallion has cautiously watched a beautiful white mare, from the safety of the forest for many years. He longs to be with her, and ventures close to the barn nightly to communicate with her. They share their deepest desires and secrets. Now it is winter, and the rest of the wild herd has moved on, but the stallion stays. He cannot stand the thought of being so far away from her. The scent of sweet alfalfa hay and the enticing lure of the white mare is too much for him. He must find a way to be with her. But will it be worth the risk? Satin and Cinders is a story of courage and determination.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Young 5.0 out of 5 stars A Love Story  Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2020

Satin & Cinders is a story told through the eyes of a stallion named Cinders. This verboten love story centers around two horses – Satin, a white tamed mare, and Cinders, a wild black stallion. This micro read book could well be about two people in love from different backgrounds. This enticing tale by Author Jan Sikes is both inspiring and elevating in more ways than just a love story between two horses. An enjoyable read indeed.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of  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 blog: Jan Sikes WordPress

The next review is for author and poet Bette A. Stevens and her coming of age novel Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for Dog Bone Soup on Goodreads

Jun 07, 2020 Erica Henault rated it Five Stars

“Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey” is an engaging, heartwarming, coming of age story taking place in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I vividly remember this time period where we also had one of the first televisions on our block.

The protagonist in this story is Shawn Daniels, the eldest of four children. He grows up in a poor, dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. Many of us can relate to how alcohol addiction affects people close to us or even within our families.

Shawn’s character is inspirational in how he thrives and succeeds despite many challenges and obstacles in his life.

Bette Stevens expertly weaves “Dog Bone Soup” throughout the story. Shawn’s Mother, Henrietta, displays strength of character, persistence and deeply rooted work ethic keeping food on the table and making a home for her children. The food is often soup made from the leftover bones from the butcher. Henrietta does whatever it takes to raise her children, modelling values and expecting the best from them.

Bette Stevens also shows us how love and nurturing can come from many different people throughout a child’s life.

“Dog Bone Soup” is uplifting and enjoyable. I found myself often smiling, reading about the children’s fun games and antics.

Bette Stevens does an excellent job capturing the time period. The characters are timeless and relatable.

“Dog Bone Soup” is a beautifully written and entertaining story. I found this book captivating from the beginning to the end.

I highly recommend “Dog Bone Soup” for teens and adults of all ages!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Bette: Goodreads

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog:  4 Writers and Readers

And the final author today is Ritu Bhathal for her romance Marriage Unarranged.

About the book

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set. Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

One of the recent reviews for the book

ElizabethC 5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing romance read.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 June 2020

If you are looking for a wonderful romance read full of flavour and contrast, then take a look at this book. The characters are beautifully written and you are transported into their world at every turn of the page. This is a love story with lots of twists and turns, heartbreak, unfaithful relationships and ultimately, happiness. The story is rich in culture, heritage and family expectations. Perfect for those who love a romantic novel to add to their bookshelf.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Also by Ritu Bhathal

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

andAmazon US

Read more reviews and follow Ritu: Goodreads

Connect to Ritu via her blog: But I smile anyway

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 – #ComingofAge Bette A. Stevens, #Writing Jane Sturgeon, #PostApocalyptic Terry Tyler


The first author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for Dog Bone Soup

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jan 19, 2020 Janet Gogerty rated  Five Stars
If you are not from the USA or have never been there you will surely know this country through the eyes of your television set. Starting with Hollywood and moving on to the television era this was the first country to project an image to the English speaking world and beyond. By the fifties and sixties other countries were catching up with television, but most of us will have grown up with American programmes, funny or glossy. As adults we know life is not always as portrayed on television. The story of Shawn and his family is totally captivating. Poverty is relative; if everybody is in the same boat there is no shame. Shawn’s family are struggling to eat, no running water, but they have a television set, most children at their local school are living the good life portrayed on television.
The late fifties and early sixties were prosperous, the space age had started, but not everyone was sharing the good times. For everyone there will be the shock of Kenedy’s assasination. Shawn as the eldest has to use all his ingenuity to keep the family going. This is also a universal story that happens in every time and place; the woman who soon finds out she’s married a loser, alcohol leads to domestic violence. The story wisely starts and ends with Shawn leaving to join the army; a poignant ending because he has achieved his aim, but at what price with Vietnam surely his destination?

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Bette: Goodreads

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog:  4 Writers and Readers

My next author is Jane Sturgeon with a recent review for her non-fiction  Writing on Water: Self Awareness.

About the book

Each one of us holds stories about ourselves and these drive our lives. Thoughts are attached to emotions and actions spring from how we feel. Old stories can be re-written, new stories can be crafted and discoveries are made along the way. It is the tapestry of life and yes, you can weave with whatever threads you choose. Loving support, fresh perspectives and new life tools can make all the difference.

A recent review for the book

Brigid P. Gallagher 5.0 out of 5 stars Words that Radiate a Beautiful Inner Wisdom  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 February 2020

Jane Sturgeon hopes her readers will “dip in and out as you need” and that her first book “gifts you a peaceful place to rest, reflect and find more self acceptance.”

She shares experiences from her life – unique moments of tenderness, the joy of Nature, of her two marriages, lessons on perfectionism, instinct, getting hijacked, staying small…
She has a beautiful gift for words. I particularly liked her creative writing exercise on sea glass:

“Because I am like sea glass; never perfect, never finished, and I have lived in so many places across the world that I have no roots. I carry my home in my heart. “

Although short in length, Jane’s book is not short on wisdom. It is indeed perfect for dipping in and out as you need.

Head over and buy the book: Amazon UK

And Amazon US: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Jane: Goodreads

Connect to Jane via her blog: Jane Sturgeon WordPress

The final author with recent reviews is Terry Tyler for her post apocalyptic thriller Blackthorn.

About the book

The UK, year 2139.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block, until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision, and promises to bring hope back to the people’s lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift’s spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor’s loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder’s message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

A recent review for Blackthorn

Feb 17, 2020 Scatterbooker rated it Five Stars

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler is a fascinating addition to the brilliant post-apocalyptic Project Renova universe. It examines what happens when religion is re-introduced to civilisation by a handsome and charismatic traveller generations after life as we know it has been wiped by the ‘bat fever’ virus.

Blackthorn is a very character driven novel and is told from the first person perspectives of three main characters who come from all walks of life in the new world. Evie is one of the working class “Shackers”, Byron is a guard, and Lieutenant Hemsley is very close to Governor Wolf North.

I loved how each character had their own distinct voice and the multiple POV really allows the reader the get to know all of the characters better, as it allows you to see them through the eyes of the characters too.

Although Blackthorn is part of the Project Renova universe, with many of the characters descending from people we have met in earlier novels, it can easily be read as a stand alone novel. I did enjoy finding out how the characters in Blackthorn were connected to characters from earlier novels, and it was deeply satisfying to be able see how some things played out so many years later.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And : Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Terry Tyler: Goodreads

Connect to Terry via her Blog: Terry Tyler Blogspot

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