Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Fantasy Jan Sikes, #Historical Ailish Sinclair, #Poetry Balroop Singh


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

The first author with a recent review is Jan Sikes for the short story Jonah..

About the book

Fantasy meets reality when a young man is forced to choose his punishment for crimes committed. Jonah must decide between imprisonment in a concrete box beneath the earth or be exiled to a deserted, barren island. He chooses the island, but nothing can prepare him for the deadly creatures, and poisonous plants at every turn. Then there’s the maddening isolation that drives him to the brink of insanity. There is only one way off this island and it’s more difficult than anything he’s ever imagined. It’s much easier to face mortal danger than the demons within. Will he find redemption, or another unexpected offer?

A recent review for the book

D. W. Peach 4.0 out of 5 stars A tale about personal growth  Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021

Jonah had a choice: prison or abandonment on an island. He opts for the island and finds himself in an inhospitable environment that he’s not sure he’ll survive. Then Titus shows up, an unusual boy with webbed fingers and glowing eyes who offers hope and a way out if Jonah is willing to change his life.

This short story, in some ways, works as an allegory for the process of finding self-acceptance, integrity, fellowship, and redemption. It relies heavily on the books The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, and The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, both which Jonah studies while trapped on the island.

Magic also comes into play, perhaps allegorical for the real “magical” transformation that comes with self-discovery and owning one’s choices. Overall, the story worked and kept my attention with its unique setting and relatable characters. Recommended to readers who enjoy allegories and a fictional overview of the steps leading to personal growth.

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

The next review is for  the historical novel Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair.

About the book

Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…

For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.

Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.

For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.

But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.

Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.

A recent review for the book

Helen 5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 July 2021

A beautifully written, heartbreaking story set in the 1700s of a young lady, Elizabeth Manteith, who is kidnapped from Scotland and taken to America to be sold as a slave. Based on real events, it brings to light the plight of more than 600 people who were taken over the years.

This is a love story that transcends colour, race, and class, as Elizabeth grows from being a spoilt lady of the castle to a young woman who fiercely defends her closest friends. There is joy and sadness, laughter and tears; the narrative pulls you in and keeps you intrigued all the way through.

I admire books that speak about parts of history that others would prefer to keep hidden, and this book tells the heartbreaking story of people whose voices would otherwise remain unheard. Well written, with wonderful characters, it’s a great read I highly recommend. 

Also by Ailish Sinclair

Read the other reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other reviews :Goodreads – Website:Ailish Sinclair – Twitter: @AilishSinclair – Facebook: Ailish Sinclair Author – LinkedIn: Ailish Sinclair

Delighted to share a recent review for Balroop Singh… and her new collection…Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

About the collection

When I stumbled upon haiku – a Japanese form of poetry, I scoffed it away, thinking it to be too short and easy to write. My hubris got a setback when I was challenged to write it! My earlier efforts show how I struggled with the syllables that could convey a meaningful message. Slowly I discovered this art form, which I revere now. I’ve taken some liberties with the rules though.

The poetry in this collection is not traditional haiku and tanka but inspired from them.This collection focuses on micro-poetry, inspired from haiku, senryu, tanka and acrostic poems. Brevity and discipline is the hallmark of these poems.

A recent review for the collection

Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE  5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry that makes you think  Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2021

This latest from Balroop Singh, Slivers: Chiseled Poetry (2021) is a delightful collection of Haiku, what is a favorite poetry form of many. Balroop is a master of this form. I loved it from Page 1, her dedication to her husband:

“who speaks like ‘haiku’ – short but profoundly meaningful”

Balroop is well known for her poetic ability to connect words that ultimately give more than simple meaning to lines and phrases but a feeling to the whole. I have savored most of her poetry books (here are my reviews for Magical Whispers, Timeless Echoes, and Moments We Love). This particular collection shares the wonder of nature as told with haikus and to a lesser extent acrostic poems. Haiku is one of my favorite poetic forms as it is for millions. Done right, it adds dimension to a topic that can’t be reached any other way.

Here are examples of her artistry. What do you think?

coruscating lilies smile at me, heralding spring, spreading colorful cheer

we fly on the waves of whim when our dreams get wings clouds crumble to comply

a light within me illuminates dead desires that gasp with the waves

wind plays pranks today knocks them down yet petals smile! scattered elegance

mist engulfed me the cavern waited to devour my positive vibes

detachment carried her into an abyss of emotions emerging seems irresistible

This is truly poetry that makes you think. Enjoy!  

Other books by Balroop Singh

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

 

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

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors -#Paranormal Don Massenzio, #Crime Jane Risdon, #Fantasy Jan Sikes


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Don Massenzio

51w8ilqqnkl-_ux250_Like his character, Frank Rozzani, Don was born in Syracuse, New York to first generation Italian American parents. He’s an avid reader. Some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, John Grisham, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.

He started writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate life. He use writing as a therapeutic outlet to combat his homesickness.

His first published book, Frankly Speaking, rose to the top of the Amazon charts. It was the first in a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The series is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from the 70’s television show, The Rockford Files. He’s also released a collection of short stories called Random Tales that is available for your Kindle or in paperback.

Also, look for his non-fiction book, The Ultimate Guide For Independently Published Authors: Tips for improving quality and selling your work, now available on Amazon.com as an eBook or in paperback

He moved to Jacksonville, Florida 22 years ago where he currently lives with his wife, daughter, and three dogs.

A selection of books by Don Massenzio

One of the recent reviews for Extra Innings

Apr 02, 2020 Pete Springer rated it Four Stars on Goodreads

Extra Innings by Don Massenzio is one man’s search to find more meaning in his simple life. The Langerton Chiefs, a AAA baseball team for the New York Yankees, have always been a significant part of Joe McLean’s life. He and his brother Mike have been lifelong fans. When the city council decides to tear down Maxwell Stadium to build a more modern facility, Joe decides that he wants a piece of the old stadium as a means of remembering his beloved Chiefs.

This meat of this story is not about baseball, however. When McLean purchases an old wooden stadium seat, he finds that he can travel in time when he goes to sleep in it. He understands that he is moving in time and recognizes the critical people in his life from days gone by, but each time Joe ends in a new period, he discovers positives and negatives. The problem is that no timeline seems to be perfect and continually finds things that are imperfect about his life that he goes about trying to fix before moving to another timeline.

It was a bit tedious trying to keep track of all of the timelines, but I found this to be an enjoyable read overall.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand: Amazon UK Follow Don Massenzio: Goodreads Blog: Don Massenzio – Twitter: @dmassenzio

Meet Jane Risdon

About Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon has spent most of her life working in the International Music Business rubbing shoulders with the powerful and famous, especially in Hollywood.

Married to a musician and later working alongside him managing singers, musicians, songwriters, and record producers, she’s also facilitated the placement of music on successful television series and movie soundtracks.

With long-term friend, award-winning, best-selling author, Christina Jones – one-time fan-club secretary for Jane’s husband’s band – Jane has co-authored Only One Woman (Headline Accent) which is set in the UK music scene of 1968/69.
Recently Jane completed her first collection of short crime stories for publication – Undercover: Crime Shorts – published in both eBook and Paperback 2019 (Plaisted Publishing House Ltd).

Jane writes for online and print magazines and has contributed to 16 anthologies. She also has a blog and often hosts guest authors.

She is working on the sequel to Only One Woman as yet untitled, as well as a series of crime novels – Ms Birdsong Investigates – featuring former MI5 Intelligence Officer Lavinia Birdsong which she plans to complete in 2020. Her experience of working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in her pre-music days has given her plenty of material for her crime/thrillers.

Her books are available in Waterstones and all good book stores as well as via various digital platforms.

One of the recent reviews for Undercover Crime Shorts on Goodreads

Feb 14, 2020 J.P. Willson rated it Four Stars

An eclectic collection of sinister scenarios…
See what I did there?
Seriously though, albeit short, a very good collection of stories that will leave you guessing through till the end.
Well worth a look.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And:  Amazon US–   Blog:Jane Risdon WordPress Goodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread –  Twitter: @Jane_Risdon

Meet Jan Sikes

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

A selection of books by Jan Sikes

One of the recent reviews for Jonah.

I really enjoyed this story. Jonah is a convict who was given a choice about how to serve his sentence and chose to be deserted on an island where the elements and environment were difficult to endure. The story focuses on his journey to inner redemption, and I love stories that focus on that internal struggle. I loved that Jonah’s isolation stripped away his need to appear tough and feared, the way he was in his home turf. I also loved that he innately protected Titus without even realizing he was doing so at first.

I just wished the story was longer. I know that it was meant to be a short story, but I would have loved more depth and more details. I would have loved more memory scenes that showed Jonah’s past life. I would have enjoyed more interaction with Titus as he grappled with his inner growth. And I would have enjoyed more of a lead into meeting the adults. I wanted to learn about his lessons and the trials and tribulations he would need to go through before being ready to fulfill his purpose. I honestly think this could be developed into a great novel if the author ever chooses to do so. All in all, it’s a great short story that will leave you wanting more. 🙂

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

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.