Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Fantasy Reads – New Release – Jan Sikes – Reviews – Fiona Tarr, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Adele Marie Park, Deborah Jay


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

Today I am sharing books which all have elements of fantasy at the heart of their stories.

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Jan Sikes three days ago Ghostly Interference (The White Rune Series)

About the book

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A small selection of books by Jan Sikes

A recent review for Brother’s Keeper

“Brother’s Keeper” is about love, loyalty and a sense of responsibility that is infuriating, commendable, exasperating and understandable. Well written, this short story has wonderful dialect, which brings the characters to life. The storyline is a good one, and takes a direction that I didn’t expect, but thoroughly enjoyed. Although to his detriment, there is no doubt Quentin is his brother’s keeper. Well done!

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

Now time for some recent reviews

The first author today with a recent review is Fiona Tarr  for Shiloh Rising – The Priestess Chronicles – Volume 3

About the book

An ancient relic, an evil power, a magical priestess. As they collide, the fearless, no-holds-barred battle erupts.

Ariela is surprised when she arrives in Carthage in yet another unknown time reality. Her mission is guided by ancient divinity and no-one is expecting her—or so she thinks. Those who await her are members of her Mother’s ancient Priestess Order. But she quickly realises, all is not as innocent and welcoming as it seems.

Carthage is warring over religion and politics. The conflict reveals truths Ariela isn’t expecting. But when the Priestess discovers she is to assassinate the King and that her Mother’s ancient order has been dabbling in politics, she is enraged. Order must be restored.

When the Priestess’s friend Ophelia senses an evil relic of power, Ariela realises politics are the least of her worries. She must stop the evil spirit that inhabits the relic before she is forced to kill the man who wears it, whether she wants to or not.

A recent review for the book

Sherrie HansenVINE VOICE  Magic and Mystery with a New Testament Backdrop  Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2020

Once again, I am amazed at the way Fiona Tarr weaves together elements of the Scriptures with magic, history and fantasy to craft a breathtaking story. This time, Priestess Ariela is transported forward in time to the New Testament era, to Carthage, where the Catholics are pitted against the Arians, and evil-spirit-possessed kings and a cast of merchants and Senators whose motivations are both unknown and questionable. A familiar entourage of characters paired with a set of new faces and issues round out the story – from the tormented king, his soft-hearted son, Priestesses uncertain of their powers, and a cruel guard. Complex plots and political manipulations are relevant to today’s world although the story is set eons ago. Another good read, highly recommended, as are all of Tarr’s books..

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

Also by Fiona Tarr

Read the reviews and Buy: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Follow Fiona: GoodreadsWebsite :A Time 2 Write –  Twitter: @FionaTarr

The next author today is Vashti Quiroz-Vega with a recent review for Son of the Serpent (Fantasy Angels Series)

About Son of the Serpent

In Son of the Serpent, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts another fascinating glimpse into the dark, compelling world of fallen angels and demons, revealing more about their untold stories.

The war in heaven might be over, but the ambitions of the fallen angel Lilith reach far across the roots of history. Will there be a being powerful enough to stop her evil influence before the destruction of mankind?

Dracúl knows he is the son of Satan, but the rest of his memory has been taken from him. Alone and frightened, he awakens in a forest, beginning a quest to piece together who he is. The world he encounters is cruel, but he yearns to belong and find companionship. With each step he takes, another missing piece of his memory falls into place, revealing a truth that is ever more troubling . . .

A truth that will turn his quest for meaning into one fueled by the hot-blooded thirst for revenge. A truth that leads him to Lilith, the most wicked and ruthless of fallen angels and one he soon will have every reason to hate. His quest will consume him, perhaps ruin his life, but somehow Dracúl is determined to find both belonging and vengeance—to be good, in spite of his evil nature and the dark secrets that haunt him every step of the way.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Gwendolyn Plano5.0 out of 5 stars A story well-written and fiercely told… Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2020

Author Quiroz-Vega’s second book of the Angels Series is powerful. It hits hard and runs, never stopping. I had to pause to take a breath and separate myself from some of the drama, but I felt compelled to read to the end. This remake of the Biblical story is curious but also believable. Well edited, well researched, I commend Quiroz-Vega on tackling this epic story.

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

Also by Vashti Quiroz Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US – and : Amazon UK –  Follow Vashti : Goodreads – website:Vashti – WordPress – Twitter: @VashtiQV

 

And the next fantasy author today is Adele Marie Park  with a recent review for Sea Dragons: Wisp II –

About the book

The malevolent and ruthless mage, Dante Asano is defeated but victory came at a horrific price.

Before Wisp and his companions could intervene, Dante possessed Pendra Thorn’s body. In order to stop Dante without killing Pendra, a magic sleep spell was cast.

A glass coffin warded with powerful spells encased her body while her mind fled to a favourite memory; unfortunately, Dante is also trapped with her.

The magical coffin will only keep her alive, and Dante contained for a short time.

A desperate plan to undertake a treacherous journey across an unknown sea means Wisp and his companions must disband. Some journey with Wisp to find an ancient spell to release Pendra and banish Dante’s spirit.

Those left behind must guard Pendra in a city under threat.

An ancient evil casts a shadow over Edra causing burgeoning unrest and setting the inhabitants against one another.

Wisp’s journey must be successful not only for Pendra’s sake but also for Edra itself.

A review for the book on Goodreads

Jul 29, 2020 M.J. Mallon rated it Five Stars it was amazing

I was lucky to be part of the beta reading team for Wisp II and was entrusted with an early copy before release. This a highly imaginative fantasy book with many aspects to it to keep you entertained. It is the second in the series continuing the tale from the first book which I read and enjoyed also.

The story begins with the news of the death of the senior law enforcer Nether Green. Could this be a murder case? Marsh fairy law enforcer Wisp is drawn into the mystery and must try and discover what has happened. Alongside this, there is a change in the tone of writing – becoming darker – in the sections devoted to Pendra who is sealed in a glass coffin. We are whisked away on a trip across the Great Sea to Samoyer, (Wisp’s father’s homeland,) to find a spell to separate Dante from Pendra.

There are times when Park’s writing takes you to a very special place drawing you into the narrative beautifully. An author to watch, a talent in the making.

I enjoyed the amusing dialogue which gave the protagonists a distinct voice and style.

I’d recommend reading the first in the series before continuing with WISP II (which I have also reviewed on Goodreads.)

My recommendation: 5 stars. Read this if you like dark fantasy tales which are full of intrigue, mystery and murder! A definite recommendation for fantasy readers, and may also be of interest to LGBT YA Fiction readers due to the (continuing love story between Wisp and Finn.) 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And  : Amazon US

Also by Adele Marie Park

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Adele: Goodreads –  Website: Adele Marie Park – Twitter: @Binky567

The final author today, Deborah Jay has a recent review for her epic fantasy The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series.

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.

A recent review for the book

Robin Cappello 5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!  Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020

I read this book as part of a different boxed set but it’s going to be added separately to the other two in its series as soon as I get them. It deserves it! The male protagonist is cocky but not always as sure as he likes to seem. The female protagonist is an arrogant, know-it-all with her own agenda. And then they’re thrown together in a desperate mission to save the kingdom & the lives of the people they care about. I won’t give lots of spoilers (or why read the book) but there are elves, trolls, dungeons, & a nasty little torture chamber complete with an egomaniac who loves to inflict pain. You’ve GOT to read this book! Loved it!

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

Other books by Deborah Jay

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Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US – And:Amazon UK – follow Deborah : Goodreads – website: Deborah Jay – Twitter: @DeborahJay2

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some fantasy gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author update #Reviews – M.J. Mallon, Mary Adler, Jacquie Biggar and Deborah Jay.


Welcome to the first of the Cafe Updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

New Feature

At the end of the post I will share any offers that the authors on the shelves have on their books. If you can let me know a week in advance that would  be great so I can include in one of the updates.

On with the recent reviews…..

The first author with a review to share is Marjorie Mallon for The Curse of Time : Book One – Bloodstone a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Kevin Cooper 5.0 out of 5 stars   Magical 30 August 2019

This is a wonderful YA fantasy read. It’s very different from others I’ve read and I say this in the most positive manner. One way or is unique is through the use of original short poetry at the beginning of each chapter providing a clue to the chapter content. It is very well done. I do love originality.

The whole work has a magical feel about it which draws the reader in with a yearning to learn more about all of the characters and their plight.

My favourite characters are, Esme… The girl trapped in the mirror, and Shadow, the black cat. These two characters alone were enough to keep me rooted.

Meanwhile, on the serious side of things, there are so many issues going on in this work in addition to that of dealing with a dysfunctional family. One’s familiarity will be tested and emotions may arise. That aside, when you add magic, a black cat, and a

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074CDJPY9

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website: https://mjmallon.com/

The next author with a recent review is Mary Adler for her wartime mystery Shadowed by Death An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2. A young Polish freedom fighter is in danger and Oliver Wright must try to protect her..

About Shadowed by Death

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger.

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Sep 02, 2019 William Stuart rated it it was amazing

I’m trying to expand my reading preferences, and I found Shadowed by Death (An Oliver Wright World War II Mystery #2) by M. A. Adler. I’m usually not any kind of historical fiction reader, but I liked the blurb. Read on for my thoughts!

What I liked:
World War II novels are sometimes difficult reads, especially when the story deals with horrific events like the Warsaw ghetto. M. A. Adler did an excellent job of working the events into the story and using it to explain Sophia’s motivations. Sophia and Oliver are great characters, but my favorites are Harley and Blue! I also appreciated the research work into the blind eye turned by the world to Russia’s atrocities.

What I didn’t like:
There wasn’t much to dislike about the book. If I had to pick something, there were a couple of slow spots. Other than that, no complaints from me

Overall impression:
Shadowed by Death was an enjoyable read despite the background subject matter. Good characters, intriguing plot, plenty of twists and turns, and a satisfying conclusion kept me involved and interested. If you like historical mysteries, read this one!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F2V369K

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowed-Death-Oliver-Wright-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07F2V369K

Also by Mary Adler

Buy both books from Mary’s author page US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7829648.M_A_Adler

Connect to Mary via her website: https://maryadlerwrites.com/

The next author today with a recent review for Tempted by Mr. Wrong is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.

About the book

How can something so wrong, feel so right?

Falling for her step-brother is a mistake T.J. doesn’t want to repeat, but one look into those sapphire blue eyes and she’s ready to give Jason whatever he wants.

Tammy-Jo Hawthorne’s marriage was floundering, but she never expected her husband to make her the laughing stock of Magnolia.
And she definitely didn’t expect to trip over him in their front yard after he’d been murdered.

Jason McIntyre was forced out of his home and the love of his life by the man who’d haunted his nightmares for ten long years.
Now Jason’s back–and he wants revenge.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, women’s fiction.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tempted by Mr Wrong is another exciting book by Jacquie Biggar. Tammy Joe’s marriage to her father’s partner is in trouble and she ends up walking home from the local country club when he has her car towed away. Who should come to her rescue but her step brother, Jason, who broke off their relationship and disappeared ten years ago. Unbeknownst to TJ, Jason’s actions were at the instance of her over-protective father, against whom Jason has borne a grudge ever since.

Jason picks up TJ walking home in the rain and gives her a lift home from the country club. He happens to still be in the vicinity when she trips over her dead husband in the back yard.

Naturally, as the humiliated wife, TJ is the prime suspect in her husband’s murder and Jason becomes involved to help her out and keep her safe. The attraction that the two shared is still disturbingly real and it creates confusion for both of them, especially as Jason’s presence in Magnolia is not as innocent as he has made out to his mother and step sister. He is living a lie.

Jason soon starts to discover that things are not entirely as they seem with his step father, who he has hated consistently for years, and his mother, who is suffering from dementia.

There is a bit more sex in this book than in previous books by this author that I have read, but it works and is tastefully written. The book has a dual focus with one being the rediscovery by TJ and Jason of their strong feelings towards each other and the other being the murder of TJ’s husband and her father’s business involvement with him.

This book is a fast past murder mystery with an intense romantic sub-story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072V2G8H2

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tempted-Mr-Wrong-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B072V2G8H2

A selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series by Deborah Jay is on offer at 99p/99c from today until 16th of September.

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.

A recent review for The Prince’s Man on Goodreads

Apr 09, 2019 A.C. Flory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading ‘The Prince’s Man’, but the reality blew me away. The story is a grown up fantasy reminiscent of Robin Hobb’s Farseer series [which I also happen to love]. You’ll find Machiavellian politics, intrigue, loyalty, a hint of love, and a cast of characters you can relate to. Yes, they have their flaws, but don’t we all?

To my mind, watching the characters change and grow is at least half the fun. The other half is getting to know the world in which those characters live. In all types of speculative fiction, the world is as much of a ‘character’ as the characters themselves. Think how important the planet Arrakis is to the story of Dune.

As readers we want to step out of our everyday lives and get lost in another world. And the author does not disappoint. The otherness of The Prince’s Man is evident right from the start, but there are no boring info. dumps. We learn about the world in the same way we learn about the human characters, by watching the story unfold, a bit at a time.

And finally, I’d like to say something about the plot. It. Is. Not. Predictable. To me, that’s one of the book’s greatest strengths. I like to be surprised, and nothing puts me off more than ‘the same old same old’. In The Prince’s Man, the author kept me guessing right to the end.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book of the series, and I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes a story with real meat on its bones

Read all the reviews and buy the book 99c until 16th September: https://www.amazon.com/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

and Amazon UK 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

A selection of other books 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 for dropping in today, please do not forget  to let me know if one of the books on in the Cafe and Bookstore is on offer, and I hope you are leaving with some books under your arm.