Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Dystopian #thriller Terry Tyler, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Shortstories Sian Turner


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update with reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is Terry Tyler with a review for her most recent release Megacity (Operation Galton Book 3)

About the book

The UK’s new megacities: contented citizens relieved of the burden of home ownership, living in eco-friendly communities. Total surveillance has all but wiped out criminal activity, and biometric sensor implants detect illness even before symptoms are apparent.

That’s the hype. Scratch the surface, and darker stories emerge.

Tara is offered the chance to become a princess amongst media influencers—as long as she keeps quiet and does as she’s told.

Aileen uproots to the megacity with some reluctance, but none of her misgivings prepare her for the situation she will face: a mother’s worst nightmare.

Radar has survived gang rule in group homes for the homeless, prison and bereavement, and jumps at the chance to live a ‘normal’ life. But at what cost?

For all three, the price of living in a megacity may prove too high.

Megacity is the third and final book in the dystopian Operation Galton trilogy, and is Terry Tyler’s twenty-third publication.

‘As long as some of us are still living free, they have not yet won. Anyone who refuses to live as they want us to has beaten them. That’s how we do it. That’s how we win.’

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 September 2021

Megacity concludes the Operation Galton series by Terry Tyler and this story is a fitting end to another great series from the author. The book covers a number of years in the lives of Megacity/Hope Village/Wasteland characters which begin to intertwine as the story progresses. As with previous books by the author it is written in a journal/diary format. This format really suits Terry’s style of writing and the lead characters really come to life in the story as well as highlighting good background characters and introducing people from previous books in the series. No spoilers from me regarding the storyline but it is the usual fast paced easy reading book that has you always wanting to read one more chapter before you put the book away and then bang – you think you are halfway through the book but have somehow reached the end!!

One of my favourite authors and really excited read about Terry’s next projects which I hope will be hitting the ‘shelves’ in the very near future  

A small selection of books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Terry Tyler: GoodreadsBlog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4

The next author with a recent review is D.Wallace Peach..for her stand alone fantasy The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

About the book

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy on the Open Sea  Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2021

What a beautifully constructed plot involving unforgettable characters. The Sea Witch (Panmar) and the rest of her family of merrows (sea creatures) rule the sea and all ships that pass through the area known as The Deep. On the one side are the more affluent people of Brid Clarion and on the other are the poorer residents of Haf Killick. Callum, The Ferryman, is the bridge between the two opposing groups, but he is not allowed to ever set foot on land. He is given safe passage of the seas by Panmar after attempting to rescue one of her merrow daughters who was trapped in a fishing net.

The laws of the seas include bargains—deals made between the leaders. This was one of the more interesting elements of D. Wallace Peach’s novel because it reminded me of negotiated deals on Earth that have been loosely followed. As part of a “bargain,” the leaders of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick must sacrifice a person to the Sea Witch to ensure their continued safe travels. Anyone who crosses the Sea Witch and fails to make a sacrifice or deceive her in some other way is doomed as she controls the movements of the sea. The Sea Witch requires payment of one human sacrifice for each trip until she receives her royal blood—the sacrifice of someone from either of the royal families. The reader wonders whether the leaders are willing to sacrifice a prince or princess if they feel they have no other alternative.

What makes the plot more suspenseful is that are secret relationships that are revealed as the story unfolds. The Ferryman and his estranged wife, Daylin, have a daughter that no one else knows about which adds tension throughout.

I had previously read another excellent book penned by Ms. Peach, (Liars and Thieves), and I highly recommend either for those who enjoy reading about fantasy worlds with elements and rules of the modern world.  

A selection of books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

The final author is Sian Turner with a recent review for her latest release – a short story collection A World of Impossibilities

About the collection

A collection of eight magical realism stories (about impossible events, but set against the backdrop of ordinary lives). Read about a wish-granting entity, an unexpected second chance, a ghostly encounter and more. Tear up the rules of known science and stretch your imagination with these variously chilling, humorous, sweet – and often thought-provoking – stories from Sian Turner, author of Splitting Infinities and Sweet Erin.

Contains the following stories (of varying length):

  • The Second Life of Grizelda the Cat – Grizelda, being a cat, should have nine lives, but two is quite enough.
  • I have a Reservation – A reservation in a restaurant with a most unusual atmosphere.
  • Gran’s Loft – Laying insulation in a loft should be child’s play, but not for Gregor.
  • Real Life Magic – A little girl with a special gift bites off more than she can chew.
  • Vota Torquent – a wish-granting entity helps a woman in need of a job.
  • That’s the Ticket – A string of numbers can be more trouble than they’re worth.
  • The Mirror – Susan makes a discovery in the loft of her new home, but her find has unexpected consequences.
  • Lacking Inspiration – Author Stella takes a walk in the park seeking inspiration, but gets way more than she bargained for.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jun 07, 2021 Jenny Twist rated it five stars it was amazing

A cat, suddenly possessed by a strange being, a child discovering she can make magic, a celestial being who grants wishes. A wonderful collection of short stories, beautifully-written – some with unique plot lines. Highly entertaining and highly recommended for all lovers of short stories.

A selection of other books by Sian Turner

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Sian: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Sian Turner Author WordPress – Facebook: Sian Turner Author – Twitter: @SianTurner1066

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Fantasy Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, #Historical Margaret Skea


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

The first author with a recent review is D.Wallace Peach..for her stand alone fantasy The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

About the book

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lauren Scott 5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Nautical Adventure!  Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2021

“The Ferryman and the Sea Witch” by D. Wallace Peach is a fast-moving, gripping nautical fantasy where the merrow rule the sea. Panmar, the Sea Witch, swims into the spotlight, luring the readers onto a choppy ride to the dark side with her hungry appetite for human sacrifices. Callum, the second main character, becomes the ferryman, finding himself trapped in a disturbing bargain with the Sea Witch. In addition to Panmar and Callum, Diana adds realistic nuances to other characters as well, where I felt genuine empathy for some and loathed others without question.

With each turn of the page, the reader becomes curious to learn what transpires between two warring nations: Brid Clarion luxuriating in wealth, and Haf Killick, a floating city of dilapidated ships. Diana’s descriptive writing and world-building is so vivid and real that I felt as though I stood on the Windwraith, balancing to the sea’s rhythm, with Callum an arm’s length away. I was swept into this fantasy with turbulent twists and turns but was surprised with the touch of romance. Another fantasy tale of beauty and excellent writing that I could not put down. Readers who revel in Diana’s creative storytelling, fantasy genre devotees, and those seeking something different from their usual choices will love this fantastic nautical adventure. Highly recommended!  

A selection of books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

The next review is for Dead of Winter: Journey 7, Revenant Pass by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

About Journey 7, Revernant Pass

Dead of Winter: Journey 7, Revenant Pass begins with the ancient watcher’s memory of the Library of the Society of Deae Matres — and its fall. We also get a look into the thought process of treacherous Arawn. Then the story picks up where we left Emlyn and company, trapped in the Realm of the Dead.
.
This Journey is shorter than some, but adventure abounds. Some characters go missing. You’ll have to read to learn more.
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Come, be a part of the Journeys.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars The Realm of the Dead and the Lost Library  Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2021

After seven installments I’m becoming used to the modest pace and omniscient feel of the narrative. The backstory repeats now and then, likely catching readers up who are exploring the epic world at a casual pace. As always, the level of detail in the world-building is meticulous.

Like many of the journeys in this story, this episode has two “parts.” Journey 7 begins with Emlyn and her party of Deae Matres stuck beyond the veil in the Realm of the Dead without a clue as to how to get back. The setting is creepy and the resolution full of danger. In the second half of the journey, they search for the Lost Library, which appears to be nothing but ruins… only it isn’t. As is the case with several of the episodes, it ends on a cliffhanger. Dead of Winter continues to be an engaging read for fans of epic fantasy.

A small selection of other books by Teagan

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Blog: Teagan’s BooksGoodreads:Goodreads Twitter: @teagangeneviene

The final book today with a recent review is for Katharina: Deliverance by Margaret Skea

About the book

RUNNER-UP Historical Novel Society New Novel Award 2018

At five Katharina is placed in a convent.
At twenty-three she escapes.
At twenty-five she marries the most controversial man in Europe.

This is her story – of courage, resilience in the face of adversity and a determination to choose her own life.

If you like your historical fiction to be absorbing, authentic, beautifully written and full of warmth and heart, this portrayal of Katharina von Bora, the escaped nun who married Martin Luther, is for you.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jun 14, 2021 Terri rated it five stars it was amazing

Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Katharina is a sprawling, immersive and meticulously researched account of the early years of Katharina Von Bora, the fascinating and little-known woman who became the wife of Martin Luther, the German priest who triggered the Protestant Reformation, in 1525.

Drawing heavily on the limited facts that are actually known of Katharina’s life, and told with compassion, historical clarity, and incredible insight, the author constructs a fictionalized world of Saxony (Germany) in the 1500’s that is impossible to step away from.

In a time and context that considers girls born to families without the capacity to post large dowries and thus obtain successful marriages as burdensome economic liabilities, the facts of Katharina’s childhood and subsequent upbringing , heartbreakingly difficult to read in parts, were sadly not that uncommon.

As a protagonist Katharina is intelligent, musical, thoughtful, and at the same time, deeply religious. She is also a girl, a person of her times, desperately insecure and struggling to find inner peace in a world in which very little of what she experiences is an act of choice or free will.

“Outwardly serene, inwardly I pray a final anguished prayer that one day I may prove worthy”

Without giving too much of the plot away (no spoilers here) before reading this book I knew nothing of the story behind Katharina’s rise to adulthood, occurring in parallel with the initial stirrings of the Reformation in Germany, (and subsequently around the world) and once I felt the first inescapable pull to enter her world, I absolutely could not put this book down.

Across the centuries, Katharina’s experiences of love and loss, life-altering decisions, dependance, fear, friendship and betrayal, – more dramatic, likely, than most of us experience – are none-the-less instantly relatable and totally engrossing.

“I find it hard to think of myself as a single person rather than as part of a community, and I struggle to choose in even the simplest of situations.”

Heart-breaking, inspiring and informative – this book belongs at the top of the list of any fan of historical fiction.

The first in the “Katharina: Luther” series, this book is followed by a recounting of the later years of Katharina’s life. I can’t wait to read more of this series!

A great big thank you to the author, Margaret Skea, for an advance review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts presented are my own.

A selection of books by Margaret Skea

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Margaret: Goodreads – Website: Margaret Skea – LinkedIn: Margaret SkeaTwitter:@margaretskea1 – Facebook: Margaret Skea

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Reviews – #Contemporary Anne Goodwin, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Crime #Thriller Fiona Tarr


Welcome to the weekly news with recent reviews for authors on the shelves. Today a a catch up with some of the new additions to the Cafe.

The first author with a recent review is Anne Goodwin for her latest release Matilda Windsor is Coming Home 

About the book

“In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

A brother and sister separated for fifty years and the idealistic young social worker who tries to reunite them. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

Told with compassion and humour, Anne Goodwin’s third novel is a poignant, compelling and brilliantly authentic portrayal of asylum life, with a quirky protagonist you won’t easily forget. Published by Inspired Quill.”

One of the recent reviews for the book 

Anne de Gruchy 5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book – it’s so much deeper than at first glance  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 June 2021

I love love love this book – partly because it drew me in and grew in depth and complexity as I read on. I love it because we are immediately so in Matty’s head and her positive energy that we cannot imagine she is beyond refinding herself. I love that we take on Janice’s optimism for Matty despite the building evidence of the dark events that brought her to Ghyllside. It is also a book that has a lot to say about family.

I love that Henry is both amusing and pathetic and in the end unable to escape his upbringing but not in the way we expect. I have personal experience of mental health issues and have been involved in mental health work for many years, including with patients’ councils and advocacy, and I touched in to the dying days of residential psychiatric hospitals and wards including Saxondale Hospital and at Kingsway Hospital in Derby.

There were many people there who might have been a Matty, and it is wonderful to see Anne Goodwin reclaiming a life from amongst many tragic stories and showing us that life is still life in whatever setting we live it.  

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

Also by Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin, Buy:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Anne : Goodreads – blog: Annecdotal – Twitter: @Annecdotist

The next author with a recent review is D.Wallace Peach..for her stand alone fantasy The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

About the book

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

Head over to buy the book : Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Nautical Adventure Wrapped in Myth!  Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2021

Yes, this novel is classified as fantasy, but it reads like a nautical adventure wrapped in folklore and myth. Merrows control the sea between Brid Clarion and Haf Killick. After losing her daughter to the nets of Brid Clarion, the Seawitch, queen of the Merrows, allows none but the ferryman to cross the water between the two kingdoms—one prosperous, the other sinking into ruin. Even then, such crossings of the deep require payment in blood by human sacrifice.

While Callum’s life is tied to the merrows and both kingdoms, the rulers of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick are wary of each other. This sets the stage for political intrigue, plotting and counter-plotting that grows ever more intricate as the story progress. The twists and turns are as slippery as nets cast into the sea. Just when I thought the course steady (and I could catch my breath), another plot thread veered in a direction I didn’t expect.

Characters are skillfully drawn, so that even while despising the actions of the villains, I understood the motives. As with any book by this author, the world is visually and exquisitely depicted. I felt as though I was on the open sea, could taste the salty brine of the deep and feel the roll of Callum’s ship. The writing is both lyrical and gritty—not an easy combination to pull off—bringing every scene to vibrant life.

I was especially fascinated by the merrows. From the Panmar, the Seawitch, to her fickle, playful, and cunning subjects who craft bargains with men, these are creatures beautiful and deadly. Once again, the author pens descriptions like liquid silver. There were passages I paused to read over for the sheer beauty of the words (sometimes darkly picturesque, sometimes resplendent and dazzling).

Callum’s character and those closest to him each stole my heart (even one that had me waffling on if I should like him or despise him). And when everything came together in the concluding pages, I couldn’t ask for a better ending. Once again, D. Wallace Peach proves her mastery with conflicted characters and fantastical realms. Highly recommended!  

A selection of books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

The final review today is for Fiona Tarr...and her recently released crime thriller Death Beneath the Covers (Foxy Mysteries Book 1) by Fiona Tarr – 

About the book

Can A High-Class Escort Turn Amateur Detective and Find A Killer?

When one of her girls is brutally murdered, Liz Jeffreys throws herself right in the middle of the investigation. Detective Cunningham isn’t impressed with her meddling but quickly realises she is a force to be reckoned with.

Another body is discovered and the pressure is on Liz to act. But when she too is attacked, Cunningham decides she must be on to something and it could get her killed, leaving him no choice but to forge an alliance.

Will a shared dark past lead Liz and the Detective down a path of no return?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Ms Rachel Ratajczak 5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew Adelaide’s underbelly could be so riveting?  Reviewed in Australia on 7 June 2021

With a powerful female lead Ms Tarr flexes her sleuth muscle in her new exciting novel.

With great characters and a riveting plot line, Ms Tarr’s unique knowledge of the landscape brings to life the torrid underbelly of Adelaide.

Being a fan of her previous work, it’s fantastic to see her talents can pivot in a different genre.  

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

A selection of other books by Fiona Tarr

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

 

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

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Afghanistan Mary Smith, #Poetry Frank Prem


Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet. D.Wallace Peach

Best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

For book descriptions, excerpts, maps, and behind the scenes info, please visit:
D.Wallace Peach Books

A selection of  books by D.Wallace Peach

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An early review for The Ferryman and the Sea Witch

The sea witch Panmar is not a mermaid and definitely nothing like Disney’s Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”. Panmar is an unusual blend of fish and human called a merrow:

“The sea witch surfaced. Urchin’s spines fanned from her temples and forehead in a prickly crown. Muscle threaded her arms, her body slim but bold-boned, skin drawn tight across her cheeks and throat. Her hair glimmered with pearls and beads of abalone, bewitching if not for the malevolence in her hooded eyes … blood-red hair slick against her skull, spectral eyes black as jet.”

As her kingdom’s ruler, Panmar is not given to kindness or leniency but when a human sailor named Callum almost loses his life trying to save Panmar’s daughter, she offers him a trade: He will be the only ferryman who can cross the Sea Witch’s waters but he can never set foot on land again AND he must provide a royal sacrifice to assuage the Witch. Until he finds one, he must offer a human sacrifice as the price of crossing her watery realm.

“The sea-witch required royal blood, and until her vengeance was satisfied, each crossing of the Deep required a sacrifice. The task fell to him [Callum]. To the ferryman.”

Two warring nations, one on either side of the Sea Witch’s oceans, commit to this arrangement by trading royal infants, allowing their sworn enemy to raise their child. The day finally comes when the children must return to their rightful family but what trust there once was has melted away over the years to be replaced by lies, deceit, and treachery. Hidden secrets must now come out as the intertwined fates of the two royal houses unravel. If even family can’t be trusted, how can Callum find a way to save what is most important to him?

Highly recommended for those who love fantasy, dark sea shanties, and anything written by Diana Peach.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

Meet Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.
Mary loves interacting with her readers Mary Smith Website

Books by Mary Smith

One of the recent reviews Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling & Highly Recommended  Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2021

Mary Smith’s Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real stories of Afghan women surprised me. Going into it, I expected the memoir to be interesting, as its focus is on a part of the world I know very little about. What I did not expect was that it would be so compelling.

For three years in the 1990s, Smith and her partner Jon worked in Afghanistan for a nonprofit to provide healthcare and health education for women in Mazar-i-Sharif. Poverty, hygiene practices that led to disease, cultural myths, and reluctance to discuss gynecological problems with male doctors were all challenges Smith was faced with addressing.

She did it by establishing the Female Health Volunteer training project, whereby Afghan women would be trained to provide health education to the women in their villages, focusing on
antenatal care, safe childbirth and postpartum care, and the care of babies and young children who failed to thrive due to diarrhea.

The details of the volunteer training project and the story of each woman who participated in it were the highlight of the book for me and the reason I looked forward to picking it up again to read after a long day. The women were so proud of their ability to learn new concepts and practices, pass the required testing, and go back to their villages to use what they had learned to improve the health and wellbeing of others.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is how Smith describes the deprivation and unsanitary conditions in which she worked and lived. These conditions are described matter-of-factly and without the judgemental lens of squeamish first-world privilege. Along similar lines, Smith’s goal to help improve the health and living conditions of Afghan women and their children has none of the zeal of the missionary to proselytize and convert them to a Western way of life.

Threaded throughout the book is contextual information about the traditional role of women in Afghan society, marital relationships, changes in Afghan society toward modernization, and the political situation, which ultimately led to the takeover by the Taliban.

The last section of the book is devoted to what happened to the women I came to know and care about after the Taliban took over the country. Their stories of horrific tragedy and, ultimately, resilience are one more reason I highly recommend Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni.  

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

Meet Frank Prem

Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet since his teenage years. He has been a psychiatric nurse through all of his professional career, which now exceeds forty years.

He has been published in magazines, online zines and anthologies in Australia, and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as spoken word.

He lives with his wife in the beautiful township of Beechworth in North East Victoria, Australia.

Also by Frank Prem

One of the recent reviews for Voices in the Trash

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars Creative photographs and poetry! Reviewed in the United States on June 2, 2021

Frank Prem lends his photographic talent to this picture poetry book by featuring photographs from the trash and treasure markets from around Australia. The author asks us, “What if these items could talk?”

What follows is a unique poetic perspective as he listens to the plaintive voices in the trash. He pens his poetry accordingly. All objects are worthy of a voice, in his eyes.

This was a lovely and creative endeavor. If you’re looking for something different to read and inspire, this is the book for you.  

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US –And:Amazon UK – Website:Frank Prem – Goodreads:Goodreads – Twitter:@frank_prem
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books…thanks Sally.

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Poetry Sue Vincent, #Paranormal #Romance Jan Sikes, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach


Welcome to the Weekly New and recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first review is for Laughter Lines: Life from the Tail End by Sue Vincent.  I promised Sue that as long as I was blogging I would continue to promote her books that have been on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore since it began five years ago. She has left an incredible legacy for us to read and for me it is a way to keep her spirit alive and with us.

About the book

Do you know what really happened between George and the Dragon? Or why Briar Rose got her name? And have you ever suffered the indignity of an overdunked ginger nut?

Take a life with a small dog in tow, add a dash of red hair dye, a selection of crumbling biscuits and a passion for recitable verse… The result is a recipe for laughter. Sue Vincent shares her world in verse.

One of the recent reviews for the book

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars Poems to make you laugh, and smile.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 March 2021

Laughter lines – Life from the Tail End is a beautiful book of poetry celebrating the bond between man (or in this case woman!) and dog. The poems make you laugh, smile and are so relatable. That’s simply because they are about everyday life, sharing memories, experiences and humorous doggy anecdotes!

Poetic thoughts on:

Trouble sleeping, – being that I suffered badly from insomnia when I was younger I relate to this so much – (The Demon List.)

Cute doggy ones such as bathing Sue’s dog Ani, (Hair of the Dog,) and Sue’s poem about sharing her food with Ani and therefore not having to diet! (The Canine Diet,)

I loved the poem Grandad Doughnuts which involved being excluded from the kitchen by Grandma and therefore having to resort to cunning and imaginative measures to make another kind of doughnut with Grandad! This was probably my favourite poem in the collection. Loved it.

Hearts and Flowers explored how love should be more than a shop bought card

There were poems about being an indie author/creative living from hand to mouth –The Archetypal Indie, and An Author’s Lament, all very relatable!

Sue Vincent’s hair dye disasters Red For Danger and Saturday Morning Blues made me smile. Been there done that! And her desire to live the free life came shining through in Rewriting The Wrinkles.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the poems and would highly recommend.

A small selection of other books by Sue Vincent and co-written with Stuart France.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK and: Amazon US Blog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent – Twitter:@SCVincent – Ani’s Blog: The Small Dog’s Blog – Blog: France And Vincent

The next author with a recent review is Jan Sikes for 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?

A recent review for the book

L D Tanner VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars Universal Themes Resonate in Multi-layer Romance  Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2021

The worlds of Jag Peters and Rena Jett collide when he nearly crashes into her motorcycle in “Ghostly Interference” by Jan Sikes. When Jag tracks down Rena’s candy apple red Harley at a corner pub so he can apologize to her, he is instantly attracted to the spitfire, dark-hair beauty. They are nothing alike. A computer programmer, Jag avoids risks while Rena is a brash waitress who appears fearless. Nonetheless, it is as though “the Universe had strange ways of bringing two souls together.” After meeting Rena, Jag strangely glimpses a ghostly figure in camouflage military attire at various times. As his relationship develops with Rena, he discovers that beneath her hard facade is a lonely girl with a troubled past and that her brother, Sam, had recently died in combat in Afghanistan. Jag wonders if the ghost is Rena’s brother who has stayed to protect and to assure her happiness. Rena’s brother’s last gift to her is a magical rune, symbolizing “happily ever after,” that helps tie their past and present together in a climactic ending.

Author Jan Sikes has written a romance with paranormal elements that will resonate with readers. For romance readers, there are some steamy scenes that will make your heart pound harder. Yet, there are more layers to the story, which on the surface seems a straight-forward romance. The following quote from the book resonated with me as I read the book: Live for today. Leave tomorrow alone. As for yesterday let it go. Rena needs to let go of the emotional scars she endured in abusive foster homes so that she can accept Jag’s love and a family lost to her. Jag must recognize that he has found something that he never knew he lost.

The secondary characters are memorable and their backstories help drive the story. I particularly like Jag’s mother, who made the ultimate sacrifice for her son so he could be raised in a stable family. We also learn about Sam, who can’t leave his little sister until he knows that she is safe and that she can embrace happiness. Other secondary characters from Jag’s and Rena’s past also help them learn how to live for the moment and to find their true passions. The themes of forgiveness, redemption, and unconditional love are enhanced with the multi-layered backstories of the secondary characters. Lyrics from songs and the symbol of the rune add to the rich tapestry of the love story.

The universal themes in “Ghostly Interference” will resonate with readers on several levels after they finish the book. It is a memorable, multi-layer love story between two completely different people who help each other find

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

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

Now something for fantasy lovers with a review for Lorinda J. Taylor with The Blessing of Krozem: A Tale of Ziraf’s World

About the book

What would it really be like to be immortal? And how important is the power of friendship and the need for communion with one’s fellow humans? On Ziraf’s World, a planet in a universe far away from ours, an old priest named Gilzara decides to ask the Dreamers for the gift of immortality, and Krozem the Creator of Humankind grants his request, including giving him the power to make others immortal. However, things go tragically wrong; Gilzara’s dying wife refuses the gift, and Gilzara is left to live his immortal life alone.

The Troil, incorporeal spirit beings who also inhabit this world, take it upon themselves to save Gilzara from destroying the token that holds the key to his immortality, but he continues to see himself as a freak and an outcast, unable to relate to any mortal. The Troil teach him the power of venwara – wizardry – and thus fortified, he returns to the human world, desperately searching for a connection. He finds it in Halrab, a young novice priest, and together they set out to climb the Starbell, the highest mountain in Ziraf’s World, the symbol of an unattainable goal.

A recent review for the book

AK Cagg 5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful myth about immortality  Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2021
This story feels like a modern fairytale wrapped up in a classic myth, and it will have you stopping to ponder what immortality truly is. I felt taken along on Gilzara and Halrab’s journeys. It often felt like I was sitting around a campfire being told their stories by people who knew them. The author weaves the language and trappings of a completely foreign world into the prose seamlessly. You will definitely read a word you don’t recognize and not feel out of place a bit due to the context and the fact you’ve been immersed into this universe so completely. This is not a light read, but it is the perfect book to delve deep into, and it will have you questioning your own views on mortality in no time.

A selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor.

Lorinda J. Taylor buy books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Lorinda on : Goodreads – Blog: Termite Writer Blog Spot – Twitter: @TermiteWriter

And the last review today is for Diana Wallace Peachand Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1)

About the book

Behind the Veil, the hordes of Chaos gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

A recent review for the book

Mar 19, 2021 Sandra Cox rated it Five stars it was amazing

An elf, a changeling and a goblin unite to save their worlds.
Sworn enemies discover that maybe their adversaries aren’t as bad as they have been taught and maybe their own cultures aren’t as perfect as they’ve been led to believe.
This was a fascinating story that was intricately written. The world building is second to none and the characters well-developed. The longer I read, the more I was drawn in. There are surprises that add an extra layer to the storyline and the characters. I enjoyed the read so much I purchased the second in the series.

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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D. Wallace Peach, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

 

Thanks for visiting today and I hope you are leaving with some books..thanks Sally.

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Meet the Muse by D. Wallace Peach


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from November 2020 by fantasy author Diana Wallace Peach. This post was a prompt challenge Diana set, and features her own story.

Meet the Muse

Adobe stock image

I’m reading a page-turner in my writing room when I hear conversations below me in the muddy track called “my driveway.” Nobody ever ventures up this mountain besides the solitary UPS driver, and this sounds like a crowd. I peek out the window.

Muses. Lots of muses. What the…?

They fall silent and, as one, swivel to stare at me. Expectant. It appears a decision has been made.

One of them breaks from the pack, and I can’t help but groan. The Mercenary Muse (once subcontracted by my Bossy Muse) starts up the rain-slick stairs.

I open the door and look up, way up. The muse is a hulk, and he smells like a battlefield after a month long campaign. He bares his teeth in a sneer as if I’m the one who needs a shower.

My Mercenary Muse (aka Discipline). Artwork by Peter Pham

“Where’s my regular muse?” I ask.

“In the ocean.” He tracks muddy prints on my floor and sits on a granite throne that appears in front of my couch. “She’s trying out your next book.”

“Oh really?” I arch my eyebrow and get a little huffy. “You’d think the author would have a say in the next story. What is she, a pirate or a mermaid?”

“A sea witch.” His grin is disturbing, though not as horrifying as his skimpy little outfit. I wish he’d close his legs. Yeesh. “I’m the Ferryman,” he adds.

My eyes snap up, and I blurt out a laugh. “Oh, no, you’re not.”

“Don’t defy a muse.” He glowers through the warning. “I am the Ferryman.”

“Gah!” I lean into his face, nose to crooked nose, angry enough to risk his breath. “No chance, big guy, not unless you submit to a complete makeover. Otherwise, forget it.”

“You’re the author.” He settles back in this throne with a smug smile and picks something from his teeth.

Artwork by Victor Nizovtsev

I wrinkle my face and cross my arms like a petulant… author. A Ferryman? And a Sea Witch? Am I actually considering this? I want to throw up but change the subject instead, “So, who are those muses, and what do they want? Don’t tell me they want scenes in the next book.”

He grunts to the negative. “They want some publicity for their authors, and I told them you’d help.”

My eyes narrow. “How?”

The brute leans forward, elbows on his knees. I’m tempted to hand him a toothbrush and bottle of mouthwash. He ignores my grimace. “They’re going to have conversations with their writers, and you’re going to reblog the posts.”

I tap a finger on my lower lip, considering the idea. The last time my blog friends joined in was a blast. And wonderfully creative.

I extend my hand. “Agreed.” We grasp each other’s forearms like warriors, and I squeak as my bones grate together.

“Agreed.” He lets go and heads for the door. “And I want your plot outlined by the end of the month.”

“But… but I’m not done with my reading challenge and now…”

If looks could squash me like a bug, I’d be plastered to the wall. He stomps down the stairs and joins the other muses. His throne fades away, and I peer out the window as the crowd disperses into the rain. I better get a post ready.

©D.Wallace Peach  2020

If you go to the November Archives on Diana’s blog you can read the responses to the prompt from other authors as well as some of her terrific reviews: Myths of the Mirror November 2020

About Diana Wallace Peach

I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit. Tolkien … literally changed my life.

I love writing, and have the privilege to pursue my passion full time. I’m still exploring the fantasy genre, trying out new points of view, creating optimistic works with light-hearted endings, and delving into the grim and gritty what-ifs of a post-apocalyptic world. Forgive me if I seem untethered in my offering of reads. Perhaps one day, I’ll settle into something more reliable. For now, it’s simply an uncharted journey, and I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I.

A selection of  books by D.Wallace Peach

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One of the recent reviews for Sunwielder

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A unique story  Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021

I do not read a lot of fantasy books, but I make an exception for D. Wallace Peach as her books are extraordinary and unique.

Gryff Worden is an ordinary man who just wants to help his uncle and aunt raise horses on their farm while raising his own family. Gryff adores his wife and two children, but there is bad blood between Gryff and the son of the Earl who rules his area. The hostility is emanates from Brant Loden’s side only, but it changes the course of Gryff’s life.

Gryff’s country is attacked by an aggressive nation who want to enslave his people and he is eventually morally wounded and his family murdered by enemy soldiers. At the time of his death he is visited by an elderly prophet who offers him another chance at life if he accepts the sunwielder, a bronze medallion which allows him to go back in time and revise decisions he made thereby changing his life’s path. I thought this concept was clever and unique. I have read other books where the hero can go back in time, but this particular method and the limited number of life choices offered by the sunwielder was something quite different and fascinating.

Gryff is a wonderful character, he is a good man and tries to do the right thing in all situations but he is human and, therefore, susceptible to various human failings like anger and resentment. It was most interesting to experience his going back in time and having to try an alternative approach when his previous choice failed. As Gryff moved further along his path, his choices improved and his self control and discipline increased allowing him to make better choices earlier and without constant intervention.

There is a love story thread that runs through the book and this is intriguing as the reader doesn’t know how his relationships with his wife and with his lover are going to turn out – his destiny in this regard is unclear for most of the book.

There are a number of characters in this book and it provides great insight into the frailties of men and how arrogance, greed, and hunger for power can destroy individuals and the people around them. Good leadership is a strong theme in this book and the importance of strategy and leadership in war and battles is highlighted.

The author writes the most beautiful and powerful prose and even without the incredible story, this book would have been worth reading just to experience the skillful writing. I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and those who enjoy excellent writing.

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I know that Diana would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Head over to find out how to participate in this series: Posts from Your Archives 2021

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Blogging Kindness by D. Wallace Peach


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post from July 2020 by fantasy author Diana Wallace Peach, and she shares her thoughts on the kindness she has experienced since she began blogging.

Blogging Kindness

Nina’s kindness

I started my blog in June, 8 years ago.

It’s seen me through 16 books, and I’ve made thousands of connections. I’ve met hundreds of bloggers I’m delighted to call “friends.”

Is that a hollow word? Not at all. It means that on some level I’ve felt a connection, perhaps brief, perhaps lasting for years, perhaps close enough that if I’m in your city or state or country someday, I’ll reach out and invite you out for coffee or wine.

For writers, blogging is essential, not for sales, but for the incredible encouragement, the cheers, the advice, the shoulder to gripe on or cry on. Bloggers are the ones who pat our backs, offer their time and talents, help us find resources, and support our marketing efforts. We get to showcase our reviews, our covers, our snippets, flash fiction, and poetry. We learn, we are challenged, we celebrate others and are celebrated.

But blogging isn’t only for storytellers, obviously. I’ve “met” artists, photographers, philosophers, jokers, wanderers, chefs, teachers and parents, historians, and thinkers. During these dark days of isolation, the kindness of bloggers has felt especially important. When I want to withdraw, bloggers remind me that the world is full of kindness.

I commented on a post by Nina of  Method Two Madness that her painted rocks were beautiful as well as a wonderfully creative way to brighten the world when we so need beauty and light. The next thing I knew, Nina was sending me three beautiful pieces of artwork. They now sit in my garden:

Kindness in my garden

And she added in this beautiful card, which I’ll be framing from my writing room wall – a reminder of the many gifts of blogging and the kindness of very real friends.

Artwork for my writing room

Thank you, Nina. ❤

If you get a chance, visit Nina and Kerfe at Method Two Madness. They share a beautiful blog of artwork, prose, and poetry.

Does the kindness of bloggers brighten your world?

©D.Wallace Peach 2020

About Diana Wallace Peach

I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit. Tolkien … literally changed my life.

I love writing, and have the privilege to pursue my passion full time. I’m still exploring the fantasy genre, trying out new points of view, creating optimistic works with light-hearted endings, and delving into the grim and gritty what-ifs of a post-apocalyptic world. Forgive me if I seem untethered in my offering of reads. Perhaps one day, I’ll settle into something more reliable. For now, it’s simply an uncharted journey, and I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I.

A selection of  books by D.Wallace Peach

61abvx-feql-_uy250_

One of the recent reviews for Sunwielder

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A unique story  Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021

I do not read a lot of fantasy books, but I make an exception for D. Wallace Peach as her books are extraordinary and unique.

Gryff Worden is an ordinary man who just wants to help his uncle and aunt raise horses on their farm while raising his own family. Gryff adores his wife and two children, but there is bad blood between Gryff and the son of the Earl who rules his area. The hostility is emanates from Brant Loden’s side only, but it changes the course of Gryff’s life.

Gryff’s country is attacked by an aggressive nation who want to enslave his people and he is eventually morally wounded and his family murdered by enemy soldiers. At the time of his death he is visited by an elderly prophet who offers him another chance at life if he accepts the sunwielder, a bronze medallion which allows him to go back in time and revise decisions he made thereby changing his life’s path. I thought this concept was clever and unique. I have read other books where the hero can go back in time, but this particular method and the limited number of life choices offered by the sunwielder was something quite different and fascinating.

Gryff is a wonderful character, he is a good man and tries to do the right thing in all situations but he is human and, therefore, susceptible to various human failings like anger and resentment. It was most interesting to experience his going back in time and having to try an alternative approach when his previous choice failed. As Gryff moved further along his path, his choices improved and his self control and discipline increased allowing him to make better choices earlier and without constant intervention.

There is a love story thread that runs through the book and this is intriguing as the reader doesn’t know how his relationships with his wife and with his lover are going to turn out – his destiny in this regard is unclear for most of the book.

There are a number of characters in this book and it provides great insight into the frailties of men and how arrogance, greed, and hunger for power can destroy individuals and the people around them. Good leadership is a strong theme in this book and the importance of strategy and leadership in war and battles is highlighted.

The author writes the most beautiful and powerful prose and even without the incredible story, this book would have been worth reading just to experience the skillful writing. I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and those who enjoy excellent writing.

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I know that Diana would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Head over to find out how to participate in this series: Posts from Your Archives 2021

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Murdermystery Terry Tyler, #Meditation Sue Vincent, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach


Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for the authors on the shelves.

The first author today with a recent review is Terry Tyler for The Visitor: A Post-Apocalyptic Murder Mystery

About the book

In 2024, a mystery virus ravages the entire world. ‘Bat Fever’ is highly contagious and one hundred per cent lethal.

A cottage tucked away in an isolated Norfolk village seems like the ideal place to sit out a catastrophic pandemic, but some residents of Hincham resent the arrival of Jack, Sarah and their friends, while others want to know too much about them.

What the villagers don’t know is that beneath Sarah’s cottage is a fully-stocked, luxury survival bunker. A post-apocalyptic ‘des res’.

Hincham isolates itself from the rest of the country, but the deaths continue―and not from the virus. There’s a killer on the loose, but is it a member of the much-depleted community, or somebody from outside? Paranoia is rife, as friend suspects friend, and everybody suspects the newcomers.

Most terrifying of all is that nobody knows who’s next on the list…

The Visitor is Terry Tyler’s twenty-second Amazon publication, and is set in the same world as her Project Renova series, while being a completely separate, stand-alone novel.

A recent review for the book

loopyloulaura 5.0 out of 5 stars fast paced and completely absorbing  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 January 2021

Four lifelong friends plan to see out bat fever in a secret bunker but will they all survive long enough to get there? And once there, a murderer is on the loose in the village…
Amidst the coronavirius pandemic, this book is scary! Set in the same reality as the Project Renova books, The Visitor is a stand alone novel set in 2024. Coronavirus has been and gone, the world recovered. But the new disease is much more deadly and every case is fatal. The politics of the original books are still there with the vaccine programme (again, scary given the current situation!)

The Visitor is written from Jack and Avalon’s first person perspectives as well as various other third person viewpoints. This allows us to understand and feel their emotions as their loved ones die and they adjust to life in the village. The Visitor also has their own first person chapters so we anticipate their next move…
The murder mystery is a fascinating plot device which stands this book apart from the other Project Renova books. The fear and suspicion adds an extra element to the plot and provides extra character development. It engages the reader as we try to figure out who the mysterious Visitor could be and deduce their motive.

Terry Tyler is such a clever writer as she plays to our fears and makes her characters and situations very realistic. She has used the current coronavirus pandemic to underscore her plot and it supports our understanding of the events, motives and actions of each character we encounter.

The Visitor is fast paced yet the sinister build up to the murderous events is not rushed. The danger from the virus as well as from others within and outside the community is completely absorbing.

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

A selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Terry Tyler: GoodreadsBlog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4 

The next author is Sue Vincent with a recent review for  Petals of the Rose: Guided Journeys

About the book

A series of guided meditations, designed to open aspects of the personality in as gentle and natural way as the petals of the rose open at the touch of the sun. Each inner journey will carry you to a haven within your own psyche from which to explore layers of your own being, learning their meaning and purpose. From mystical and silent castles, to the song of the unicorn… each journey takes you deeper into your inner being and carries you out beyond the stars. Stories stir the imagination, casting images upon the screen of mind that allow us to explore, in safety, aspects of our lives and being that we might otherwise avoid or overlook. There is a rich vein of experience in memory that can be mined for its treasures. One of the simplest and best ways of exploring the labyrinths of the mind is to do so through a guided journey.

Meditation and visualisation are not arcane practices in which a few indulge… we all use these tools every day, to navigate our way around the world and our lives. We ask ourselves ‘what if?’, creating imaginary scenarios before we act. We visualise the route we walk to work, or what the basket full of ingredients will look like, once assembled and cooked, on a dinner plate. There is no mystery in meditation… but when you give time and attention to the practice, it can open the door to many mysteries… including those of our own being…

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Feb 06, 2021 D.G. Kaye rated it five stars it was amazing

A small book that packs a punch for the soul. Sue Vincent offers up some wonderful calming and soothing meditations with guided imagery to help take us into a higher mindspace and bring us into a calmer sense of self.

This book offers simple meditations with painted visualizations in words (which this author is known well for) that aid in getting us into a meditative state and help to stir our senses by taking us into the imagery and leaving us to continue with wherever our imagination takes us.

A lovely book to keep at the bedside to use for those reflective moments, or when we just need to zone out and recompose.

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

Please visit Amazon to view all Sue’s books and those written with Stuart France.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKand: Amazon USBlog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent – Twitter:@SCVincent

The final author is D.Wallace Peach with a recent review for the fantasy Sunwielder

About the book

In a land on the brink of war, Gryff Worden discovers his family slaughtered, his farm in ruin.

Mortally wounded, he stumbles upon a timekeeper, an old woman of the northern forests, one who tracks the infinite paths of each life. She offers him a sunwield, a medallion promising to return him to the pivotal choices that swayed his life’s journey. Her only condition—he must wear the bronze charm until the end.

Now his story remakes itself, casting him backward in time to moments of decision and death. His old life gone, he no longer remembers the purpose of the medallion burning his chest. As he uncovers the sunwield’s power, new choices lead him on an epic adventure through war, death, friendship, life, and love.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A unique story  Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021

I do not read a lot of fantasy books, but I make an exception for D. Wallace Peach as her books are extraordinary and unique.

Gryff Worden is an ordinary man who just wants to help his uncle and aunt raise horses on their farm while raising his own family. Gryff adores his wife and two children, but there is bad blood between Gryff and the son of the Earl who rules his area. The hostility is emanates from Brant Loden’s side only, but it changes the course of Gryff’s life.

Gryff’s country is attacked by an aggressive nation who want to enslave his people and he is eventually morally wounded and his family murdered by enemy soldiers. At the time of his death he is visited by an elderly prophet who offers him another chance at life if he accepts the sunwielder, a bronze medallion which allows him to go back in time and revise decisions he made thereby changing his life’s path. I thought this concept was clever and unique. I have read other books where the hero can go back in time, but this particular method and the limited number of life choices offered by the sunwielder was something quite different and fascinating.

Gryff is a wonderful character, he is a good man and tries to do the right thing in all situations but he is human and, therefore, susceptible to various human failings like anger and resentment. It was most interesting to experience his going back in time and having to try an alternative approach when his previous choice failed. As Gryff moved further along his path, his choices improved and his self control and discipline increased allowing him to make better choices earlier and without constant intervention.

There is a love story thread that runs through the book and this is intriguing as the reader doesn’t know how his relationships with his wife and with his lover are going to turn out – his destiny in this regard is unclear for most of the book.

There are a number of characters in this book and it provides great insight into the frailties of men and how arrogance, greed, and hunger for power can destroy individuals and the people around them. Good leadership is a strong theme in this book and the importance of strategy and leadership in war and battles is highlighted.

The author writes the most beautiful and powerful prose and even without the incredible story, this book would have been worth reading just to experience the skillful writing. I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and those who enjoy excellent writing.

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreads blog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter:@Dwallacepeach

 

Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Reviews – #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, Fiona Tarr, #Comingofage Bette A. Stevens


Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore updates with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today with a recent review is D. Wallace Peach for Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1)

About the book

Behind the Veil, the hordes of Chaos gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

A recent review for the book:

Annika VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars Story and Characters equally compelling &  captivating! Highly recommended!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 January 2021

A world is held together with the most tenuous alliance. A world like no other and inhabited by three races; elves, goblins and changelings. Together they’ve kept the peace in Borderland, yet its thin veneer is threatened as the dark force of Chaos seeks to overthrow the land. However, its leader, Kalann il Drakk, must first penetrate the shimmering border wall, the Veil.

With excitement, I was propelled into ‘Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1) and into the midst of Drakk and his force’s attack on the Veil. Its electrical energy is as powerful as the writing. Although the attack ultimately fails, seeds of Chaos are planted through the wall … although the reader is left in doubt about its format.

From this dramatic beginning, the book, the first of a trilogy, becomes increasing captivating as the story unfolds through chapters centred on three misfit characters who dominate the narrative and whose in-depth revelations help to create this outstanding fantasy novel.

The striking red-haired Alue Windthorn, an elf soldier, is plagued by failure which lands her in constant trouble with her leaders and father.

Talin Raska is a rogue of a changeling whose charm and cheek cannot see him out of all his pitfalls as he is also a liar, a thief and a spy. His greatest failure is to fall for his mark, Alue.

Naj’ar is half-elf, half-goblin and the two elements of his being are in a constant battle for his soul.

All three are outsiders, loners, they have constant difficulty following orders and rules. All three possess great abilities, some known to them, others revealed later. All three find their lives are, against their better judgement and wishes, intrinsically intertwined.

The author’s superb gift of storytelling immediately drew me into the book and the compelling lives of the characters. Through a close third-person narrative of each a chapter at a time, their thoughts, emotions, reasonings, fears and vulnerabilities are revealed in touching and dramatic detail.

Equally compelling is the finely woven plot as strange disappearances of its people throughout the land are experienced by all three races. Of course, they immediately seek to blame each other although they are dependant on each other for their assets. The balance and harmony are severely strained as ever more are killed, threatened or simply disappear in the mysterious quakes.

As the tension escalates, events spiral out of control and distrust reigns and soon accusations and counter-accusations nearly bring Borderland to the brink of war. With imaginative tour de force, D Wallace Peach creates an exceptional new world, which through stunning detail, beautiful descriptions immediately become real and true to the reader.

Whilst ‘Liars and Thieves’ is an epic fantasy novel it is at the same time a wonderfully intimate and personable story. I can imagine books 2 and 3 will become increasingly intense as Chaos and its destruction and fight for the eradication of the world dominates the plot. Having read and loved some of the other books by the author, ‘Liars and Thieves’ is my favourite as yet! I look forward to reading the next two in the series and they are already on my Kindle!

To conclude, ‘Liars and Thieves’ is a must for all fantasy book fans as well as an exciting and enthralling book for readers new to the genre. Highly recommended.

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

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreads blog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

The next 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

reading in the dark 5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful addition to the series  Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2021

I’ve enjoyed each book in this series and this one was no different. Once again the characters and storyline kept me reading to the very end. The author does an amazing job building a fantastic world and endearing characters.

I can’t wait to see what lies in wait for Ariela and her team

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

About the book

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

One of the recent reviews for Dog Bone Soup on Goodreads

Dec 16, 2020 Maretha Botha rated it Four Stars

Historical fiction has always been one of my favourite choices, and “Dog Bone Soup” set in the 1950’s did not disappoint. I loved the way the author describes Shawn and Willie’s relationship, how they supported their mother when their father preferred to spend his money on drink rather than support his family, how they held their heads high when being teased at school for having no running water or indoor toilet/bathroom facilities, and yet, despite their dire situation, these siblings found time to just be kids and have fun. This is a thought-provoking, coming-of-age read which I recommend.

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

Books by Bette A. Stevens

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Read the reviews and buy the books Amazon US –and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog: 4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

 

Thanks for visiting today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.