Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Cynthia Reyes, Frank Prem and Annika Perry


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update where I share reviews and news from authors on the shelves.

The first recent review is for Cynthia Reyes and her daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange with illustrations by Jo Robinson, which is a sequel to the lovely children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle.

About Myrtle’s Game

Myrtle the Purple Turtle returns with another great adventure! Myrtle and her friends are turned away when they try to join in a game with others. The friends walk away, feeling hurt, but that’s just the start of the story. Find out how Myrtle, Gertie, Hurtle and Snapper solve the problem, in this second picture book about Myrtle the Purple Turtle. A perfect book for children ages 3 to 8 (and adults who like turtles), it follows Myrtle the Purple Turtle — a bestseller, praised by thousands of children and adults, teachers and librarians around the world.

One of the recent reviews for Myrtle’s Game on Goodreads

Dec 20, 2018 Andrea Stephenson rated it Five Stars.
A beautifully illustrated picture book with a wonderful message, that continues the journey of Myrtle the Purple Turtle. The first book talked about what it was like to be different and how to ‘love the shell you’re in’. This book continues that theme of difference and belonging – it is about other’s perceptions of what we can do just because of the way we look or who they think we are. It is about not being defined by those prejudices and about being who you are and excelling at it. This is a great book to read with a child to prepare them for their first visit to nursery school or their first group situation where they are trying to find their place. Many children have been in the position of standing on the side-lines, wanting to play but not being accepted, until they find the friends who truly support them and want the best for them. This story is about friendship, supporting one another and showing that we should never let what others’ think stop us from doing what we love. A lovely story that will really appeal to children and would make a great gift

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

The first book in the series

Also by Cynthia Reyes

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

Connect to Cynthia via her website: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

Another terrific review for the collection of poetry and short stories Small Town Kid from Australian author Frank Prem

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

One of the recent reviews for Small Town Kid on Goodreads

Jan 02, 2019 Martii Maclean rated it it was amazing

Small Town Kid is filled with rich memories of childhood and family. Frank’s poems paint vivid pictures of a time when the rhythms of life were less hurried. This poetry collection comes together into a joyous, warm quilt of memories.

‘Poppy Cakes’ took me back to my granny’s kitchen, tasting the delicious mysteries of her secret recipes. ‘From inside the outhouse’ made me shudder, as I remembered fears of falling in and being lost for good, but these humorous recollections of a pre-flush generation brought a smile to my face.

‘Crackers’ took me back to amazing cracker-nights and the thrill of those pocket-money explosions.

I very much enjoyed spending some time in Frank’s home town. It reminded me of those simple pleasures and people that make us who we are. It was delightful to shar

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Find more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank via his website: www.frankprem.com

The next author with a a popular short story collection is Annika Perry with The Storyteller Speaks.

About The Story Teller Speaks

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

The Storyteller Speaks is a wonderful collection of short stories, flash fiction and poems that depict a wide range of events, characters and viewpoints. At the centre of each is human relationships and the effect that a single event can often have on the course of a life. A full gamut of emotions is here, including love, grief, anger and redemption. The stories are moving, uplifting, sometimes dark, sometimes amusing. My favourites include: The Whiteout Years which is a heart-breaking and touching depiction of grief and hope; and Loss of a Patriarch, a moving story about saying goodbye to the author’s grandfather. I also enjoyed the influences of the author’s Swedish heritage. This is a collection to savour and a book that fulfils its promise to win your heart.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog:   https://annikaperry.com

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves for Christmas -#Children’s Myrtle’s Game by Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange, Illustrated by Jo Robinson


Delighted to share the news of the latest release from Cynthia Reyes and her daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange with illustrations by Jo Robinson, which is a sequel to the lovely children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle. It is available in Kindle and would make a wonderful gift for children and grandchildren.

About Myrtle’s Game

Myrtle the Purple Turtle returns with another great adventure! Myrtle and her friends are turned away when they try to join in a game with others. The friends walk away, feeling hurt, but that’s just the start of the story. Find out how Myrtle, Gertie, Hurtle and Snapper solve the problem, in this second picture book about Myrtle the Purple Turtle. A perfect book for children ages 3 to 8 (and adults who like turtles), it follows Myrtle the Purple Turtle — a bestseller, praised by thousands of children and adults, teachers and librarians around the world.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

The first book in the series

One of the wonderful reviews for the book

“Myrtle the Purple Turtle,” a children’s book by Cynthia Reyes, has been out in the world for awhile (it was published in 2017). “Myrtle” has been on my “wish list” for a while, and today I finally broke down and picked up the Kindle version for myself.

Myrtle is a purple turtle, happy with life and what she likes and does, until a crabby, conceited, and prejudiced green turtle comes along. The green turtle makes fun of purple Myrtle’s appearance, and she becomes dejected, wishing to be green like other turtles. In the end, with a little help from Mom and her little turtle friends, Myrtle arrives at the understanding that it’s natural to be different, and in truth, every being is different and unique in its own way.

What I came away with in reading “Myrtle” is the message that we should realize that although we are the same, we each are unique. Moreover, it’s good to fit in with others, but isn’t grand to have distinctive appearances, talents, likes, dislikes, et cetera—some things we can call our own and share with others? I think so.

I believe this is a worthwhile children’s book. Not only does it help teach to be considerate of others, it also teaches that you don’t have to do, or be like, your friends, celebrities, or anybody else. It’s like the old saying many of us heard our parents say as we were growing up: “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you, too?” Don’t follow the crowd. —Something in that vein.

The illustrations by Jo Robinson are brilliantly colored, sharp, and charming. They help the visual aspect of the written story, and they will certainly catch the young – and older – eye.
“Myrtle the Purple Turtle” is great summertime reading and would make a very thoughtful gift for youngsters for any occasion, any time of the year. Recommended.

Also by Cynthia Reyes

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

About Cynthia Reyes

Cynthia Reyes is the author of A Good Home and An Honest House. Her children’s illustrated book Myrtle the Purple Turtle was published in October 2017 to excellent reviews.

Cynthia is a former journalist, producer-director and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. More than a hundred episodes of her programs appeared on network television. She won national and international awards and acclaim for her work, including The Children’s Broadcast Institute Award , The Trailblazer Award and The Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television.

In October 2016, the country of her birth, Jamaica, inducted Cynthia into the Order of Distinction, Commander Rank, in recognition of her work in Canadian and international journalism.

Connect to Cynthia

Website: https://cynthiasreyes.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cynthiasreyes21
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaSReyes

Illustrations by Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson currently resides in her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for many years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. Her stories are mostly about people, and the sometimes dark twists that life takes. She also writes science fiction/fantasy, humour, and horror, not being one to restrict herself.

Find out more about Jo’s author services: https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com/indie-author-services/

Apart from offering a range of author services, Jo is a talented writer of several books.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jo-Robinson/e/B009JB6IAW

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could spread the news about Cynthia and her talented daughter’s new book as far and wide as possible. Thanks Sally.

Sally Cronin’s Book Reviews 2017 – My recommendations for Christmas Part One – Mary Smith, Judith Barrow, Cynthia Reyes, Kristina Stanley and Jack Eason


As part of promoting books for Christmas, I thought that I would share some my book reviews from 2017 that I featured on the blog. These are books that I can recommend personally and I hope that if you have not read the work of these authors you will head over and check them out.

I have not read nearly enough books this year and I still have some reviews to write that will appear after Christmas. My intention in 2018 is to maintain book and author promotions but also ring fence some time for my own writing and reading. I will be featuring one review a week which is my target of 52 books reviewed for next year.

Anyway I do hope you enjoy my personal selection over the next two days.

My reviews and recommendations for Christmas Part One.

No More Mulberries by Mary Smith was a treat as you will gather from my review and I am not alone in my opinion. There are an impressive number of excellent reviews for the book which continues to delight readers.

About the book

No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?

My Five Star review for No More Mulberries.

First let me say that this book should be made into a film as it has all the ingredients of a action packed love story.

It is visually stunning and I found myself completely involved in the people and locations such as the village of Sang-i- Sia that Mary Smith uses as the backdrop to the unfolding story. Combined with the increasing conflict between the various factions in the region it has an element of danger that brings even more tension to the central theme.

All the characters had wonderful depth and some of the minor personalities stood out for me as well. Including Ismail an old and trusted friend from her previous life in Zardgul and his gentle and wise wife Usma.

There is a love triangle between midwife Miriam, Iqbal her second husband and Jawad her charasmatic first husband who died tragically, and whose death she has not fully come to terms with. Through flashbacks, Mary Smith masterfully takes us through each of their lives, revealing the secrets and events that have brought them to a crisis point in Miriam and Iqbal’s marriage.

I came to admire Miriam who felt out of place in her native Scotland and embraced the cultural differences of living in a small Afghan village with enthusiasm and humour. She does everything she can to be accepted by learning the language and adopting the role of a traditional wife and mother.  Relationships can be daunting at the best of time, but add in the inability to communicate,no running water, basic cooking facilities and harsh extremes of weather in an isolated enviroment, and fortitude is required.

I did sympathise with Iqbal who clearly loves Miriam but finds it very difficult to deal with the ghosts of his past, and the ghost of Jawad who he feels is the third person in their marriage. He wants to be a good father to Farid who was just a toddler when his father died, but Miriam has also been trying to keep the memory of Jawad alive for her son, who is now confused. The light in their marriage however is provided by the delightful little girl, Ruckshana who is unaware of the tension and shines her love on all of them.

This is a complex relationship but the story is written in such a way that you come to understand and empathise with all the players in the drama. Mary Smith brings her extensive experience of living and working in Afghanistan and Pakistan into this story, creating a wonderful tapistry of life, love, danger and redemption.

I highly recommend you read the book.

Read more of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith/dp/1849234205

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith-ebook/dp/B005RRDZ12

I also read and reviewed Donkey Boy and Other Stories in October

My review for the collection which I gave  5 stars on October 2nd.

This is not a long read, but you should never judge a book by the number of pages, but in the quality of the writing. Each story is beautifully crafted and leaves the reader with questions. Not about the outcome of the story, but about how we might have behaved under similar circumstances. In the title story we meet a small boy who has to work for his father rather than go to school. His resentment is natural in a child, as his reasoning over a moral dilemma that becomes even more complicated than he anticipated.

For me there was a theme running through all the stories, of a sense of being trapped in situations and circumstances. These included childhood memories laced with bitterness, secrets that if revealed could endanger life, and visions that show the darker side of human nature. I read and enjoyed the novel No More Mulberries by Mary Smith, and highly recommend that you read this short story collection too.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075VC1XNX

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VC1XNX/

A selection of books by Mary Smith

NEWSFLASH: Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni is on offer until December 23rd at 99p..

Mark Williams 5.0 out of 5 stars A Finely Wrought and Fascinating Memoir 24 August 2017

This is an outstanding memoir, a record of the time that Mary Smith spent working in Afghanistan where she was establishing a project to train female volunteer health workers. This perspective makes for an account that is so much more vivid and intimate than a mere visitor to the country could have created. Mary Smith writes with humour and a delicate touch that faithfully records the daily life she experienced directly. She also evokes a lost time when the country enjoyed relative peace, pre-Taliban, and because of that there is an elegiac mood too as Taliban were later to gain ascendance. What shines forth, however, is the resilience and spirit of the Afghan people, especially the women, which Mary Smith captures in a lively, limpid style that ensures you will want to keep reading right to the end. It is easy to see why Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni has become a best seller.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith

Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

My next review is for A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow which is the fourth book of hers that I have read and enjoyed.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

My review for A Hundred Tiny Threads.

Highly recommended – A brilliant prequel to the Howarth family saga.  Five Stars.

I read and reviewed the three books in the Howarth Family Saga series and was delighted to discover that Judith Barrow was going to release a prequel to the series. We meet Winifred Duffy and Bill Howarth well into middle-age in the trilogy, and it is wonderful to find out how they began life, and the experiences that formed their characters.

Winifred Duffy finds it difficult to bond with her rigidly unloving mother despite the best efforts of her father. Their grocery shop is a focal point in the street and being under the watchful eye of the neighbours makes their strained relationship worse. It is a time when the Suffragette movement is gathering pace, and much against her mother’s wishes, Winifred becomes involved. Her new friends are vibrant and colourful. They are completely different to anyone that she has known before and they draw her into a dangerous liaison. Winifred has to develop the strength to overcome the consequences of these relationships if she is to continue to live within the narrow minded community around her.

Bill Howarth is a young man whose early life and time in the mines has marred him, leaving scars that make him unpredictable and angry. But Winifred catches his eye and ignites a love that is both powerful and destructive. Bill enlists to fight in the First World War and his experiences of the horror drives any compassion he might have had, deeper beneath his anger. This is reinforced with his service as part of the Black and Tans regiment in Ireland leaving him with few options if he is to find redemption.

Judith Barrow has created two very different characters that cross paths on a number of occasions, sometimes without being aware of each other’s existence. It is very difficult to like Bill Howarth, and it takes a skilled writer to instil some compassion and understanding for the young man he becomes. Winifred is much easier to admire, as she faces and overcomes some life-changing events, and comes to terms with secrets from the past.

The pace of the story is excellent, with several other wonderfully drawn characters such as Honara and her brother Conal, and the completely unlikeable Ethel Duffy. The history of the suffragette movement and the Irish conflict are very well portrayed, forming a compelling backdrop to the story of two young people being drawn into events, often beyond their control.

I recommend that if you have not already read the three books in the trilogy, that you begin with A Hundred Tiny Threads. This will offer you a wonderful introduction to the Howarth family that you will next meet during the Second World War. Also, having become familiar with the locations in this prequel, you will feel immediately at home when you encounter them in the first of the books, Pattern of Shadows.

Head over read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Read more reviews and follow Judith on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

My next review is for the beautifully written and illustrated children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes and illustrated by Jo Robinson.

About Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.

My review for Myrtle the PurpleTurtle

Beautifully illustrated children’s book with a lesson for us all.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book, that gently encourages the young to accept that being different should be celebrated. Whether it is the colour of a person’s skin, accent, cultural background, religion or disability, they should never feel excluded and forced to change to fit in. Adapting is a different thing altogether and that comes when two people or groups respect each other’s differences, learn from them and adopt some elements in common. Cynthia Reyes expresses that effectively with the words in this book, complimented perfectly with wonderful illustrations of Myrtle and those she meets along the way by Jo Robinson. I also believe that parents or any adults reading this to a child, will also take on board how important it is for young children to grasp this concept as they enter this multi-cultural world we live in.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075ZGB235

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-Cynthia-Reyes/dp/0620773421

Also by Cynthia Reyes

book-photo-agh-cover2

Read the reviews for both books and BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

61etre3zbbl-_ux250_Connect to Cynthia Reyes via her blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

Illustrations by Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson currently resides in her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for many years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. Her stories are mostly about people, and the sometimes dark twists that life takes. She also writes science fiction/fantasy, humour, and horror, not being one to restrict herself.

Connect to Jo via her website: https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com

The final review for today is for  Look the Other Way by Kristina Stanley which was released in August this year.

About Look the Other Way

Submerged beneath the depths is a sea of secrets

A year after her Uncle Bobby mysteriously disappears in the turquoise waters surrounding the Bahamas, Shannon Payne joins her grieving aunt to trace Bobby’s last voyage. Shannon hopes the serenity of the sea might help her recover from a devastating breakup with her fiancé.

Sailing the 38-foot catamaran, A Dog’s Cat, is Captain Jake Hunter, a disillusioned cop who has sworn off women. While Shannon tries to resist her growing attraction to the rugged captain, she uncovers dark truths about her uncle’s death that might send them all to the depths.

My review of Look the Other Way.

A romantic thriller with some great twists and turns.

I am not a sailor but have enjoyed time on the sea with a very capable captain at the helm. It was clear throughout the book that there was a very capable sailor writing the story who knew their way, not just around a boat and the Bahamas but also a romantic thriller.

The main characters were everything that a romance needs. Attractive, feisty and independent heroine, Shannon Payne who has some very good reasons for taking a break from her life, for some much needed time to think and consider her future. A good-looking and rugged hero, Jake Hunter who seems to be hiding a secret from his past, and who is desperately trying to keep his eyes of the bikini clad Shannon who might just put a dent in his resolve to remain single and celibate.

Shannon’s aunt Debi is on a mission to unravel the mystery about her husband Bobby’s last sailing trip. It seems that wherever the boat with its occupants anchors in the exotic Bahamas, the mystery deepens with dangerous manipulative female hitchhikers, and a much disliked yachtsman who likes to help himself to expensive keepsakes. Add in Debi’s excitable little dog and you have all the ingredients of a great adventure.

The locations from the Florida coast to the various yachting havens in the Caribbean are authentic and clearly well researched. Whilst the appeal of the nomadic life sailing these waters was apparent, so was some of the darker elements of this lifestyle.

One of the clever elements that the story of a troubled boy and teenager that is told in the background.. is it Jake or someone else? As Shannon’s brother joins the crew and seems at odds with everyone, it raises more questions about both their backgrounds.

Who are Shannon and her aunt to trust, and will they discover the truth behind the loss of Bobby? As the feelings heat up between Shannon and Jake she is knows that she must discover the truth if she is to find true happiness.. Oh and look out for the ex-fiancee who decides to confuse the issue even further by turning up uninvited.

I enjoyed the book very much. I escaped to the warm waters of the Bahamas with Kristina Stanley at the helm and found myself captivated to the end. Not my usual genre, but there was plenty of excitement, mystery and action to keep any reader happy. With the cold winter nights drawing in I recommend you curl up by a fire and escape to the islands.

You can read other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Look-Other-Way-Kristina-Stanley-ebook/dp/B073QHLZSB

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Look-Other-Way-Kristina-Stanley-ebook/dp/B073QHLZSB

Also by Kristina Stanley

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I

Read more reviews and follow Kristina Stanley on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14130411.Kristina_Stanley

Connect to Kristina via her website: http://kristinastanley.com/blog/

Earlier in the year I read and reviewed the historical novella 1066 by Jack Eason

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley

My review for 1066 May 18th 2017.

Prepare yourself to stand in the shield wall.

This novella may be a short read, but it so packed with authentic detail and action, that you feel you are reading a much longer book.

Our heritage is founded on the backs of ordinary men such as Aldred and his nephew Cynric pressed into service as were thousands of farmers and craftsmen who were sworn to the feudal Anglo-Saxon lords. The story is factual but told through the eyes of these two fictional characters as warring armies battle to gain control of Britain.

One army is led by the barbaric King Harald of Norway or Hardradå as he is known by his men. He has formed an alliance with the Anglo-Saxon Tostig, claimant to the throne, now held by his brother King Harold, following the recent death of Edward the Confessor. This invasion force has the backing of Duke William of Normandy who has made promises to Tostig should there be victory.

With all the various factions identified, the story then takes us through the build up of forces led by the Norwegian king in southern Scotland, the defeat of the army entrenched in York and the significant and decisive victory by the forces of King Harold at Stamford Bridge.

This leads to the battle that was to change the life of every man, woman and child in Britain on October 14th 1066.

The main characters are portrayed vividly, and their backgrounds and involvement in this pivotal time in history, demonstrate how human traits such as greed, revenge and jealousy leads to the deaths of thousands who follow them.

The battle scenes and the acts of barbarism are very realistically portrayed both through the eyes of Aldred and Cynric, as well as those leading the various forces. The action maintains its pace throughout the story and Jack Eason has recreated the terrifying and brutal results of hand to hand combat and archery.

This was a dark time in our history and 1066 was a turning point for a Britain about to move into the Middle Ages, Jack Eason has captured this moment excellently.

If you enjoy a fast paced story and historical accuracy then I recommend you read 1066.

Buy the book – Amazon US –  https://www.amazon.com/Autumn-1066-Anglo-Saxon-dominance-ended/dp/1546685308

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1546685308

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY

Follow Jack and read other reviews on Goodread: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4026249.Jack_Eason

Connect to Jack via his website: https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/

I hope you have enjoyed today’s selection and there will be more of my reviews tomorrow. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Cynthia Reyes, Christy Birmingham, Terry Tyler, Sue Coletta and Deborah Jay


Welcome to the first of the week’s Christmas Book Fairs with a very full house, and the first author with a book that would delight any child this Christmas is Cynthia Reyes with Myrtle the Purple Turtle. The book was beautifully illustrated by Jo Robinson.

About Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Lessons on the importance of diversity and friendship abound in this beautifully written and illustrated children’s book written by author Cynthia Reyes. After being teased by a green turtle, “Myrtle the Purple Turtle” no longer wants to be purple. When Myrtle tries to turn herself green, she lands upside-down on her shell with no way to turn over until friends arrive to save the day. Not only do Myrtle’s friends get the purple turtle back on her feet, they show her and tell her how different and how beautiful they all are. Children will be inspired by Myrtle’s story to embrace the differences in themselves and others. ~Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning picture book AMAZING MATILDA Amazing Matilda (Children’s Literature): The Tale of A Monarch Butterfly and other books for children and adults.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075ZGB235

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-Cynthia-Reyes/dp/0620773421

Also by Cynthia Reyes

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Read the reviews for both books and BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

61etre3zbbl-_ux250_Connect to Cynthia Reyes via her blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

The next author who has two wonderful poetry collections which would make great gifts for family and friends is Christy Birmingham. 

About Versions of Self

About the collection

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration. Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

The latest review on Goodreads

Carolee Croft rated it Five Stars on 15th December 2017

Versions of the Self plays around with the concept of different selves, not trying to pin down or define the self, but dazzling the reader with the many colorful possibilities of human existence. These lines reveal the pensive and imaginative mind of a poet who is rooted in reality but gifted with the talent of describing everyday events with fantastic flair.

The poems speak of moments in life that we can all relate to: the love of a child for their parent, the sudden yearning for a crush, the heartbreak of rejection, the self-confidence that comes from releasing fear. Christy provides fitting and beautiful metaphors for all of these, making it appear like each one is not just different side of the self, but a whole other world.

Some of my favourite poems were ones where the ‘self’ tries to see beyond her current situation and imagine the possibilities, as in this excerpt from “The Field of Poppies”:

I bend down to pick the red flowers at
My feet, and I wonder at a day when
Tears do not stain my cheeks.
I wonder how the words will sound,
I wonder who will hold my hand then.

These poems give the impression of someone young, optimistic, hopeful. The different selves can be separated by seemingly insurmountable gulfs, but at the same time these poems speak of a strong connection, not only between people but also with nature and even the stars beyond our world.
Read all the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Versions-Self-Christy-Birmingham/dp/0994094906

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Versions-Self-Christy-Birmingham-ebook/dp/B00XQOH3IE

Also by Christy Birmingham

Pathways to Illumination is available exclusively at Redmund Productions: http://redmundpro.com/book-store/pi/

Read more reviews for Christy’s work on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7177834.Christy_Birmingham

Connect to Christy via her blog: https://whenwomeninspire.com/

I can personally recommend Tipping Point Book One of Project Renova by Terry Tyler which I read and reviewed a few weeks ago.. Lindisfarne, Book Two is on my reader and will be part of my leisure pleasures over the Christmas break.  If you are a secret ‘Prepper’ you will love this….

About the book

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is now available, with the follow-up, UK2, due around late spring/early summer, 2018. Patient Zero, a collection of stand-alone short stories featuring minor characters from the series, is also available.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Set in the year 2024 Tipping Point is reminiscent of the 1970’s TV series The Survivors. So just the population dying here and no zombies to contend with, which is so refreshing for a story to follow this path.

An infection has been let loose in the UK and the story starts in a fictitious Norfolk village of Shipden where Vicky and her daughter are trapped in the village being held under quarantine. Being from Norfolk myself this really appealed to me as did the whole book being set in the UK rather than the usual US storyline. As the book progresses we are taken back to events before the breakout and introduced to other characters, some of whom have their own storylines (for now) and some whose story is interwoven with that of Vicky of Lottie.

An easy and great read which I can’t recommend enough and I can’t wait to start the second book in the series to see how the characters cope with life in a post-apocalyptic world. 

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tipping-Point-Project-Renova-Book-ebook/dp/B074LSCX5M

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tipping-Point-Project-Renova-Book-ebook/dp/B074LSCX5M

A selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

Read more reviews and follow Terry Tyler on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821157.Terry_Tyler

Connect to Terry via her blog: https://terrytyler59.blogspot.ie/

The final author today with books that would make great gifts for thriller and mystery readers are those by Sue Coletta..and here is her latest novella – Brotherhood Protectors: Fractured Lives.

About Fractured Lives

Three couples, the perfect Maine vacation, and a fateful night that lands one of the women in mortal danger.

Couples are going missing in Sunset Cove at Long Lake, and the authorities seem more concerned with not tarnishing the reputation of their popular tourist destination. Until … while out for a spin on her wave runner, Shawnee Daniels pulls alongside a deserted canoe.

Blood stains the seat.

When retired SEAL Brandon “Boomer” Rayne wakes to an empty bed—his bride-to-be Daphne nowhere inside their rented cabin—he enlists the help of the only people he’s met in the state: the couple next door, Shawnee Daniels and Revere, Massachusetts Detective Levaughn Samuels.

Uncertainty bonds the two neighbors, forced together by tragedy. Their predicament turns even deadlier when the half-nude body of a female washes ashore. No obvious signs of homicide exist. How did she die? Does her death relate to Daphne’s disappearance?

Time’s running out.

Can they piece together the mystery to find Boomer’s fiancé? Or will an elusive serial killer determine their fate?

One of the most recent reviews for the book.

Lovable Shawnee Daniels and Detective Levaughn Samuels are vacationing at Sunset Cove, Long Lake, enjoying a well- earned time to relax and recharge their batteries. A popular destination with a problem about missing women, something the local authorities have been keeping quiet about, not wanting to scare off the tourists.
Normally, Shawnee and Levaughn are up to the necks in mysteries and murders and I was a little disappointed that this book might not focus on them after all, but when the wife of one of their neighbours goes missing and a body turns up in the water, I relaxed. There was no way Shawnee would leave any of this alone.
Sue Coletta has excelled herself with this latest story in the Mayhem series. Full of intrigue, mystery and chillingly descriptive horrors, but there was no definite suspect, leaving me grasping for clues. The supporting cast revealed no suitable subject either, building my frustration at not being able to figure out who was guilty.
A mysterious, mist-shrouded island seems like a good place to start looking, but what they find when they get there will blow your socks off. A totally unexpected finale, one of the best I have ever read. Your blood will run cold!
I ended up reading this book twice, for such a lot seemed innocent the first time I read it. Remember how frustrated I was about the lack of clues? Well, they were there all the time in bucket loads!
Once you know the ending, you really must read it again to fully appreciate the subtle nuances. All those seemingly ordinary happenings take on a far more sinister theme when you know the truth. This is master storytelling at its finest!

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Brotherhood-Protectors-Fractured-Kindle-Novella-ebook/dp/B075FFNWD9

A small selection of other books by Sue Coletta.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

and Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

Read more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14078869.Sue_Coletta

Connect to Sue Coletta via her website/blog: www.suecoletta.com

The next author with several books that would make great gifts is Deborah Jay with The Prince’s Man which Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series. The book is on offer between 20th and 27th of December…make a note in your diary.

About The Prince’s Man

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Deborah Jay’s The Prince’s Man (Amazon Digital Services 2014) is a beautifully told epic of noble people, magic, elves, and vicious trolls. Rusty is a bon vivant male companion to wealthy women and undercover spy in the service of his king. To save the kingdom, he partners with a woman–something that just isn’t done in this fantastical world–and together they rescue a captured elf in the hope it will garner the assistance of his kinsmen. As they travel the long journey required to return him to his home, they face trolls, sprites, and elementals, each with their own goals and none of which help the pair succeed. When they finally reach their destination, they find this is only the beginning of a mission fraught with danger, unusual alliances, and death-defying consequences.

This elaborately constructed world of royalty and spies, intrigue and romance, is truly is a mix of fantasy and 007. In so many ways, it resembles the delightful conniving multilayered world of the French and British court life with its flirtatious characters, the one-upmanship of lords and ladies, and the subterfuge that can surface at any moment to threaten the ruler. But when you add an elixir that offers the fountain of youth, the price of victory or defeat skyrockets. This award-winning story, the first in the Five Kingdoms series, is intricately woven, dramatically told, and filled with twists and turns that will keep every reader guessing.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

Also by Deborah Jay

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

Read more reviews and follow Deborah on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Connect with Deborah via her website: http://deborahjayauthor.com/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the selection. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine -Sally’s Book Reviews – Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes, Illustrated by Jo Robinson


My review today is for the beautifully written and illustrated children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes and illustrated by Jo Robinson.

About Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.

My review for Myrtle the PurpleTurtle

Beautifully illustrated children’s book with a lesson for us all.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book, that gently encourages the young to accept that being different should be celebrated. Whether it is the colour of a person’s skin, accent, cultural background, religion or disability, they should never feel excluded and forced to change to fit in. Adapting is a different thing altogether and that comes when two people or groups respect each other’s differences, learn from them and adopt some elements in common. Cynthia Reyes expresses that effectively with the words in this book, complimented perfectly with wonderful illustrations of Myrtle and those she meets along the way by Jo Robinson. I also believe that parents or any adults reading this to a child, will also take on board how important it is for young children to grasp this concept as they enter this multi-cultural world we live in.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075ZGB235

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-Cynthia-Reyes/dp/0620773421

Also by Cynthia Reyes

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Read the reviews for both books and BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

61etre3zbbl-_ux250_Connect to Cynthia Reyes via her blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

Illustrations by Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson currently resides in her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for many years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. Her stories are mostly about people, and the sometimes dark twists that life takes. She also writes science fiction/fantasy, humour, and horror, not being one to restrict herself.

Find out more about Jo’s author services: https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com/indie-author-services/

Apart from offering a range of author services, Jo is a talented writer of several books.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jo-Robinson/e/B009JB6IAW

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jo-Robinson/e/B009JB6IAW/

Read more reviews and follow Jo on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6979970.Jo_Robinson

I think that Myrtle the Turtle would make a wonderful Christmas gift and I hope you will head over and read the other reviews and buy.

 

I am very happy to promote your books here on Smorgasbord in various ways. I am afraid that I cannot commit to reviewing books due to time constraints but please take a look at what I can do for you.

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, Karen Ingalls, Janice Spina and Cynthia Reyes


Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

Throughout the year over 120 authors have been promoted weekly on the blog and their books now reside in the virtual bookstore along with their buy links and websites. In the run up to Christmas I will be visiting all the authors in the store and checking for updates and new reviews on their most recent books. If you are in the bookstore and have recently published a new book, received a rave review then please let me know.. Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

My first update today is for author Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene who has delighted us over recent years with her vibrant and enchanting weekly series. Many of us have contributed ‘three things’ in the hopes that Teagan would weave her magic around them and we have all said… that needs to be a book .. and  a film.  Thankfully Teagan has published what we hope is just the first of the books based on her stories. Three Things Serial is also part of a promotion at the moment for a free signed copy and two digital copies. Full details can be found here:  https://teagansbooks.com/2016/12/02/book-launch-the-three-things-serial-story/

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About the Three Things Novella

Everything about this story was determined by the random “things” readers sent. Absolutely nothing was pre-planned. First came the narrator, Pip, aka Paisley Idelle Peabody. I imagined the voice of Lucille Ball as Pip, telling a story of her youth. Then came the 1920s setting, inspired by oscillating fan. Next the “things” brought characters, particularly Andy who came back for another serial. Eventually a thing gave me the Florida setting. I think you get the idea of how this worked.

Pip, a modern woman — a flapper, begins the first of several adventures. In this story a mysterious white-haired woman is kidnapped. Pip finds a bent key, a scrap from a special quilt, strange tattoos and other “things.” Later, Pip and her friends find themselves on a luxurious yacht where they encounter figures from history and celebrities of the era. The mystery comes to the forefront when they reach the destination, the gilded mansion, Ca d’Zan.

Also by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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One of the latest reviews for Atonement Tennessee

Engaging Urban Fantasy By tpolen on November 14, 2016

This book had me at old estate and cemetery – how can you resist a description like that? I settled in with it on a Friday evening and finished it Saturday afternoon.

Upon meeting the mostly charming characters (you’ve always got to throw some loathesome/questionable characters in the mix) in Atonement, you just know they all have a story to tell or a secret they’re hiding and you won’t want to put the book down until learning all there it to know about them. Small town settings seem to have the best eccentric residents and make for fascinating, entertaining reads and Atonement is no exception. The book is primarily told from Ralda’s POV, but being a cat fan, I especially enjoyed the sections with Lilith the cat’s POV and think she’s deserving of her own book.

With a mystery, paranormal elements, and a touch of romance, the author has crafted a fun, engaging read that I’d recommend to urban fantasy fans. I look forward to reading the sequel – or perhaps Lilith’s book (maybe?) in the future.

And some previous comments about the book.

I enjoyed reading Atonement Tennessee and like the writing of Teagan Geneviene. The story is told effectively with a changing point of view. We enjoy a third person narrative in describing Lilith’s activities when alone.

Who do I recommend it to? If you like spooky tales, old houses, mystery, cats, legends, magic and stories about women I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Ah, let’s not forget

Read all the wonderful reviews and BUY the books: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

Teagan-books-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-writer

Connect to Teagan via her blog: https://teagansbooks.com/

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

My next update is for Karen Ingalls and her book published earlier in the year, Davida Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The book continues to receive excellent reviews since its promotion on the blog.

51uoh3ytil-_uy250_About the book.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the premier American sculptor from 1880-1920. Though married he fell in love with his model, Davida Johnson Clark and their love affair lasted more than twenty-five years. This fictionalized account will introduce the reader to some of the great art, historical facts, and the moral values of that era.

The author is the great-granddaughter from this union and her purpose in writing the book is to bring recognition to Davida and remove any negative stigma to her. Her grandfather suffered his whole life from being labeled a bastard while growing up and this story is intended to remove that label.

How can a love affair last for such a long period of time? What affect did it have on his career? How did his wife and son cope with their being a second family?

This is a compelling and beautiful love story that has needed to be told.

The most recent reviews.

Based on a true story, the author attempts to re-create the relationship between her great grandfather and his mistress (her great grandmother). The book is well-researched and includes chapter notes that explain sources and limitations. I found these notes very helpful, and I admire the author’s faithfulness in reporting the facts.

The book is also well-edited, so reading the book is a pleasure. The photos at the end of the book (of her grandfather’s sculptures and of Davida herself) are fascinating. In the end, one has to wonder, who are we to judge. Love can’t be imprisoned by tradition or the practices of the day. It erupts unexpectedly and creates its own reality.

Ingalls had my attention in her first paragraph as she introduced her main character (Albertina/Davida) on her steamship passage from Sweden to the United States in 1876. While the main theme is the love story between her famous sculptor great-grandfather and his model mistress great-grandmother, the nuances of immigration to a new land, the art world, having a child out of wedlock, and raising a fatherless child all lend themselves to a gripping saga of love, grief, misery, joy and challenge. I believe the book is well written and does a marvelous job of weaving the known facts about the characters with imaginative details of what might have been. It is a fascinating story that will leave you wondering and wishing it would go on.

Read the many excellent reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress-Augustus-Saint-Gaudens/dp/1530397871

Also by Karen Ingalls

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Buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Ingalls/e/B009KT5QWY

photo-on-2-14-16-at-139-pm-crop-u6133

Connect to Karen through her website: http://www.kareningallsbooks.com

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

Award winning children’s author Janice Spina is celebrating four years of blogging and has enjoyed an exceptional year with the release of both children’s books and another book for those of us who are young at heart. https://jemsbooks.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/blogging-anniversary-special-promotions/

She is offering both of her novels, Hunting Mariah and How Far Is Heaven (Kindle copies) at the discounted price of .99 cents each – that is a discount of 81%. Now you must take advantage of this wonderful offer before you lose out. The promotion will run from 12/4/16 – 12/11/16 in time for Christmas shopping. Remember the price goes back up to $4.99 on 12/12/16.

51rve4ptl2l-_uy250_About Hunting Mariah

An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah.

Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past? Can Mariah escape this deadly killer’s grasp. Will she finally be safe? Will the killer be apprehended?

One of the five star reviews for the book

This book held me on the edge of my seat from page one. The serial killer is introduced in a blood-curdling prologue rife with suspense, leaving the reader most eager to turn the page. When Mariah makes her appearance, she finds herself in a strange place, terrified and suffering from amnesia. This spawns the question: Is she already in the clutches of the “school girl killer”?

The author impregnates her story with intrigue by shrouding her main characters in mystery. Unknown to Mariah, their lives are intertwined and bear on each other significantly. Suspense builds as the veil is slowly lifted on each one’s secret, closely guarded for the sake of Mariah’s safety. Deeply rooted in the past, these secrets now threaten to explode into the present.

With a shocking introduction and seeding her story with crumbs of revelation, J. E. Spina captures and holds the reader’s interest throughout this action-packed tale of mystery and suspense. She gives nothing away until the very end, and then adds an epilogue that will delight horror fans.

I closed this book feeling that I’d just seen a very entertaining movie ~ and wearing a smile of utter satisfaction.

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About How Far is Heaven published this year.

Parker and Priscilla Wilfork are happily married with two children. Life seemed perfect and peaceful until Parker goes on a business trip and does not return. Priscilla finds her world turned upside down when she searches for answers to how and why Parker disappeared.

One night Priscilla has a dream that Parker is an angel. Does this mean that Parker is now dead? After two years and no sign of Parker except in her dreams, Priscilla makes the decision to tell her children that their father has gone to Heaven.

Priscilla tries to get their lives back together until one day Deanna disappears too. Now Priscilla must go on a quest to find her daughter before it’s too late. She fears her daughter’s disappearance might be connected in some way to her husband’s. Can Priscilla go on with her life if she loses Deanna too?

With the help of a handsome police Sergeant, Blake Furelli, they work together to try to find Deanna and solve the mystery behind Parker’s disappearance. During this trying time, Blake, who suffered a loss of his own, feels drawn to the ethereal beauty of Priscilla.

One of the recent reviews for the book

How Far is Heaven” is a spectacular story of a young family, Parker, his wife, Priscilla and their children, Robbie and Deanna. Parker and Priscilla were deeply in love and enjoying a wonderful life together until Parker mysteriously disappears without a trace. The story is captivating. I didn’t ant to put it down. You can feel the emotions of the story so deeply that it brought me to tears. You’ll be astounded by the connection between Parker and Priscilla that even death can’t sever.

There’s no doubt you’ll love the story as much as I did. It’ magical. Award-winning author, Janice Spina, should be extremely proud of her abundant talents. She wove the story perfectly. I highly recommend it.

A small selection of Janice’s children’s books

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Discover all of Janice’s books, read the reviews and BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG

Author Janice Spine

Connect to Janice via her website: https://jemsbooks.wordpress.com/

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

My last update today is for An Honest House by Cynthia Reyes and is the sequel to her memoir A Good Home.

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About the book

Picking up from the early days of her recovery from a car accident, as told in her first book, “A Good Home,” she shares in this new book intensely lyrical stories of life with her husband in her historic farmhouse north of Toronto.

You will hear the birds sing, smell the flowers in their beautiful gardens, and taste the red currant jelly and other dishes from plants grown on their property.

You will be challenged as the author immerses you in the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and the courage it takes to live with chronic pain.

And you will say a wrenching farewell to the farmhouse as she opens a new chapter in a life still devoted to creating beauty out of the materials that life serves up to her, be they dark and haunting or light and joyful.

The most recent reviews for An Honest House.

This book is masterfully written. It is a continuation of her first book “A Good Home”, but you don’t have to read that to enjoy this one. She hooked me with the first page when she talked about the house as if it had its own personality and character. The house and yard were one of the constants through her struggle to recover from an accident. Sometimes the house helped, sometimes not. Her husband was another part of the constant in her life and this book is part love story.

Cynthia doesn’t clean things up for the readers, but gives an honest look into the struggles and difficulties she has had to deal with. She doesn’t give a three step path for overcoming, but rather a day to day encouragement to keep going in spite of where you find yourself. Her ability to involve herself in the lives of others, even while facing such struggles herself, was inspiring. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to understand the day to day struggle of someone with PTSD. I would also highly recommend it as an excellent memoir that sweeps you away into her life.

Her first book I read in a weekend. This one I took longer, just because I wanted it to last. Not everything is resolved, so I hope to see another book down the road.

An honest account of the author’s transformation, through pain and through faith, from a young woman of high energy and ambition to an older, wiser, more compassionate person. Irresistible. Worth reading “A Good Home” first.

A must read!! on July 24, 2016

This is a beautifully written continuation of Cynthia Reyes’ first book, “A Good Home”. “An Honest House” takes you deeper into the struggles of a wonderful life quickly changed in the blink of an eye. Cynthia shares her personal challenges of every day life after a car accident and the PTSD that followed. With the love of her family and friends she finds a way to cope with her chronic pain and does not let it define her. She inspires with her words, strength and courage!!

As with her first book, I found myself lost in her writing feeling many emotions through the pages and not wanting it to end. As soon as I finished it, I quickly read it again!!

Also by Cynthia Reyes

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Read the reviews for both books and BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

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Connect to Cynthia Reyes via her blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

Thank you for dropping in to the post this morning and as always very grateful if you could share to spread the news about these authors and their news. Sally

New Book Fanfare – An Honest House by Cynthia Reyes


New book fanfareToday the featured book is the second by Cynthia Reyes – An Honest House shares more of her life in her home north of Toronto.

About the Book

AHHCynthia Reyes has done it again.” Picking up from the early days of her recovery from a car accident, as told in her first book, “A Good Home,” she shares in this new book intensely lyrical stories of life with her husband in her historic farmhouse north of Toronto.

Blog Photo - Blue clems atop Pinks

You will hear the birds sing, smell the flowers in their lavish gardens, and taste the red currant jelly and other dishes from plants grown on their property.

You will be challenged as the author immerses you in the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and the courage it takes to live with chronic pain.

And you will say a wrenching farewell to the farmhouse as she opens a new chapter in a life still devoted to creating beauty out of the materials that life serves up to her, be they dark and haunting or light and joyful.

Buy An Honest House

Amazon USA      Amazon Canada      Amazon UK      Chapters Indigo

Also by Cynthia Reyes

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About the book.

A Good Home is an addictive read, a profoundly emotional book about the author’s early life in rural Jamaica, her move to urban North America, and her trips back home, all told through vivid descriptions of the unique homes she has lived in — from a tiny pink house in Jamaica and a mountainside cabin near Vancouver to the historic Victorian farmhouse she lives in today, surrounded by neighbors who share spicy Malaysian noodles and seafood, Greek pastries and roast lamb, and Italian tomato sauce and wine (really strong wine).

What the readers are saying.

A beautiful memoir!  By J. Brill on May 26, 2014 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Cynthia Reyes takes the reader on a journey from rural Jamaica to Canada and back. The stories she tells captivate and draw the reader in. While each story is unique to her experience, her messages are universal — love of family, power of misunderstandings, and devastation of illness and death. As a psychologist fascinated by the effects that environments have on people, I was drawn to the central role Reyes gives to the homes in which she lived. From the small pink home in Jamaica to the blue home to the farmhouse in Canada, each home has its own vivid personality. From the excitement of a new home to the heart-breaking decision to leave a beloved home, Reyes took me to places I’ve never been, made me happy to be there, and sad to leave. I loved this book!

What a Fantastic Book! By Donna Kay Cindy Kakonge on June 3, 2013  Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

A Good Home is a pleasure to read! With beautifully crafted description, reminders of other great books, a sense of adventure and travel from Cynthia Reyes who leaves her beautiful home in Jamaica to make a home in Canada, this book is first about people and next about the precious shelter that allows us to take flights with our fantasy as it says in the book – home. The difference with this well written book is that it reads like fiction and has the story qualities of fiction, however is a non-fiction literary narrative that you will be grateful you discovered.

Buy A Good Homehttp://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

About Cynthia Reyes.

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Cynthia Reyes has published non-fiction stories in Arabella Magazine, one of the fastest-growing magazines in the United States and Canada, as well as in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Life. Reyes is a former journalist and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. More than a hundred episodes of her programs have appeared on network television. She is the winner of national and international awards and acclaim for her work as a television producer, project leader, and public speaker, including the Children’s Broadcast Institute Award and the Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television.  Here is Cynthia pictured with one of the many book clubs who have read her book.

Blog Photo - Book Club 1 2014

Connect to Cynthia on her blog and social media

Blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bycynthiasreyes
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/cynthiasreyes
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

Thanks for dropping by and it would be great if you would leave a comment and also share Cynthia’s new book across your own networks.  Sally