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 Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Africa Ann Patras, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens


Welcome to the start of the Christmas Book Fair posts. With over 150 authors in the Cafe I need to start now to make sure that I include everyone on shelves.

I am going to be choosing authors at random so that there is a variety of genres in each post to offer as many gift ideas as possible.

The first author is Ann Patras who shares the story of her family’s life in Africa over three memoirs.. Today the third book in the series, Much More Into Africa, which would make a wonderful gift for adventurous members of the family.

About the book

It is four years since Ann and Ziggy moved with their young family from England to Zambia’s Copperbelt. During this time, their new life experiences and crazy antics were the subject of multitudes of letters to their incredulous family and friends.

Will they continue with their daft escapades now, as they change location to the country’s capital city?

This is where you find out, as the Patras family gets Much More Into Africa.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lindylou 5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 September 2020

Here we have the third instalment of Ann. Ziggy and the children’s lives in Africa and like the previous books it does not disappoint. More fun, laughter and adventures, forays into the unknown, giant spiders in the bathroom. As with the previous books this one includes letters written home to the family accompanied by pictures and Ann’s own drawings which are divine.

Ann loves Africa and its people, this all comes through in her unique style of writing which is an easy, relaxed style but always that underlying hint of humour is never far away.

Four years after moving to Kitwe there are big changes in the Patras’ life, Ziggy has changed job and they have now moved to Lusaka. Life soon settles down for the children busy with their school life and her husband with his work, Ann wonders what is there for her. Having left her friends behind she was at a bit of a loss…let’s face it with a houseboy there was little to do around the house.

Ann soon becomes involved with the Lusaka Gymkhana Club and here more fun ensues for the family and her stories of her and the children’s riding adventures were a joy to read about. She recounts their adventures of safaris which had me in awe of the animals, white water rafting experience (more Ziggy’s idea of fun than Ann’s but she enters into the spirit of it) this had me holding onto my seat whilst they were tossed around.

The family spend more time in the UK and it is a pleasure to read more of life for them there. There are also sad times for Ann in the UK and I cried along with her.

There is yet another job change for Ziggy, feeling that Zambia has no more to offer him along comes a change of location so I look forward to more of their adventures in South Africa.

Once again you are drawn into the stories and feel as if you are there experiencing it all with them, it is a totally delightful book to read and I have loved them all so far.
Thank you Ann for a thrilling and exciting read

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

The other books in the series

Ann Patras, Buy: Amazon UK –  And:Amazon US – Follow Ann:  Goodreads – Website: Ann Patras Author – Facebook: Ann Patras Author

Now something for fantasy lovers from 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 on Goodreads

Sep 06, 2020 Audrey Driscoll rated it Four Stars really liked it Recommends it for: Readers who appreciate literary fantasy.

Lorinda J. Taylor’s stated goal is “to write compelling fiction that delivers an emotional impact and leaves her readers with something to think about at the end of each story.” She has certainly done that with The Blessing of Krozem.

Who wouldn’t want to become immortal? Especially in a body that remains forever in a state of health and fitness. That is the gift bestowed on the priest Gilzara, one of the central characters of this book. It comes with the power—indeed, the obligation— to make others immortal as well, and with the expectation that the power is used wisely. But the gift coincides with a great loss for Gilzara, because his wife, Javon, refuses it and dies.

The creators of the world in which the story takes place gave humans free will, but also trick and test them. Because of this, the gift of immortality becomes a curse for Gilzara, a great responsibility to which he believes himself unequal. And as the only immortal human in the world, he is desperately lonely.

The other main character of the book is Halrab, a young apprentice priest whom Gilzara meets decades later, after much sorrowful wandering. Halrab is practical and optimistic, while Gilzara is a tortured soul. The establishment of friendship between the two takes many twists and turns, and constitutes the greater part of the story. Halrab is a sympathetic character. I could identify with him as he solved problems, made choices, and dealt with Gilzara’s many anxieties.

The setting for this story is Ziraf’s World, described in the author’s Afterword as “a fantasy creation in a galaxy far, far away from our own planet.” The world is sort of like Earth, but also quite different. The sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Blue is the planet’s dominant colour. The mountains and even the moon are blue. So is the race of humans to which Gilzara and Halrab belong, although there are rumors of other human races in distant lands. Indeed, this world is full of colours—stars in shades of green, red, purple, and yellow, trees whose blue flowers open by moonlight, and a wealth of other plants and animals, each with distinctive names and characteristics. It’s a mountainous region, and the highest mountain has the captivating name of Starbell. I loved this aspect of the book.

Another group of characters are the Troil, mostly incorporeal spirits attached to winds, waters, caves, and other natural features. Several of them play key roles in advancing the plot. They are rather charming individuals, whose appearance and ways of expressing themselves add an element of lightness.

As with Taylor’s other books, this one includes a constructed language (conlang). I discerned some of its conventions as I read, and there is a glossary at the end. It reinforced the impression of an alien world complete in itself.

For me, the first two-thirds of the story read like a legend set in China, with its communities of priests, mountain and forest shrines, and mentions of distant and powerful deities. I envisioned the plot as though painted on silk scrolls. In the final four chapters, there is a greater degree of tension and immediacy. Crucial revelations are made, and Gilzara either succeeds or fails (I’m not saying which!) in using the blessing with which he is burdened. I could not imagine, when I started reading, what the outcome might be. The ending was satisfying but the story did give me a lot to think about, as its author intended.

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

A selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor.

All Lorinda’s books about extraterrestrial intelligent termites, starting with The Termite Queen, pictured, are only 99c on Amazon and Smashwords, through November.

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

The final the perfect gift for poetry lovers-  a collection  by Bette A. Stevens that celebrates the beauty the state of Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Lisa Kradjian 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful collection… Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020

Organized by the four seasons, this lovely collection explores the landscape and communal spirit of Maine, through the year, the holidays, the blooms, the change in terrain. It is like a stroll through the town and woods and waters — a visual feast, with gentle and vivid language. Some favorites include:

Wide-eyed spectators
Shake their heads in wonder to
A spring concerto

From the Master’s hand
Lily of the Valley sings
Rejuvenation

Radiant leaves—now
Memories in our scrapbooks
Seasons travel on

I recommend “My Maine” highly.

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

Books by Bette A. Stevens

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Bette A. Stevens, Buy: Amazon US –and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to give as gifts this Christmas.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Contemporary M.C.V. Egan, #ScienceFiction A.C. Flory


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week with recent reviews for books on the shelves…

The first review is for Lorinda J. Taylor for her recently released 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.

An early review for the book

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be immortal? Would immortality be a gift or a curse? Speculative fiction author, Lorinda J. Taylor explores those questions in her recent release, “The Blessing of Krozem – A Tale of Ziraf’s World.”

On Ziraf’s World, a distant planet in the universe, the world is illuminated in various shades of the color blue. The planet has its own cosmology (the sun and moon rise in the west and set in the east, and the year is shorter than on Earth.

The author’s notes share:

“The culture is late Neolithic; metallurgy is unknown except for some gold-working. Obviously, the culture is on the cusp of technological development, but the path to that level will be different from Earth’s – based on spiritual and mental arts that can be called magic, for want of a better term. The gods (Ziraf’s Dreamers, the Seven Zem’l, whom Ziraf the High Dreamer appointed to engineer creation) are palpable in this world, as are a different kind of beings called Troil, who are pure spirit and are immortal.”

“Naturally, such a world will have its own languages, but in this tale, we are concerned with only one race of humans, called the Kairam (the Slate People); there are in fact other races who would have languages of their own, but they figure only tangentially here.”

(Taylor, Lorinda J. The Blessing of Krozem: A Tale of Ziraf’s World (p. 231). Kindle Edition.
The tale sets in motion when a man and his wife ask the old priest Gilzara a simple question. Why do the Troil live forever while humans are mortal?)

Both elderly now, Gilzara and his wife, Javon, ponder the question. More than anything, Gilzara fears he already knows what the answer will be from Krozem, the Creator. But he can’t help wondering… what if Gilzara and Javon could live forever, healed, and once again whole?

Krozem grants Gilzara’s request, including the additional power to make others immortal. The old priest hurries back to Javon to share this significant news. Javon refuses his gift of immortality and dies in his arms. Devastated, the priest realizes that he must live his immortal life alone. The ramifications of such an existence are staggering.

Gilzara is heartbroken over the loss of his wife, and he feels the weight from the gift of immortality like a noose hanging around his neck. Without Javon, life no longer holds any joy. He hides from other humans and even starves himself to near death, wishing for the sweet release death would bring to him.

When Thav, a cave Troi, stumbles across Gilzara’s almost frozen body, she knows the Troil must save Gilzara from destroying the token that holds the key to his immortality. Thav and the other Troil eventually teach Gilzara the power of venwara, a type of wizardry.

I’ve noticed “wounded male characters,” is Taylor’s specialty. She excels in her portrayal of the old priest as a deeply wounded soul finding redemption through a journey of love and acceptance. The prophetic magic of her words come together when Gilzara finally learns to live with his immortality.

Look for spectacular world-building, rich characters and descriptions, and bits of spiritual wisdom that will resonate with your own belief systems. The personas of the Troil captivated me. These Yoda-like creatures remind me of benevolent nature spirits, always looking out for the good of the planet and the people who inhabit this strange land. In fact, some of Taylor’s descriptions of venwara magic are so breathtaking, I found them to be poetic.

“The Blessing of Krozem – A Tale of Ziraf’s World,” is a standalone novel. For your reading convenience, Taylor adds a detailed list of characters, a list of geographical names, and a Glossary of Terms at the end of the book.

I’m a tremendous fan of this author, and this recent addition to her repertoire has become an instant favorite of mine! Something tells me you will love this novel, as well. Enjoy!

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Lorinda J. Taylor

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Lorinda on : Goodreads

Connect to Lorinda via her blog: Termite Writer Blogspot

The next author is M.C.V Egan with a recent review for her novel Defined by Others.

About the book

A word, a single word defines a moment for Anne. She needs to find a new one when her spouse, Frank, leaves her at the age of forty-seven, coming out of the closet literally in a closet.

She finds herself back in her hometown of Skvallerby, Connecticut among her high school friends which she had left in her past.

An inheritance from a frenemy leaves her with the means to meddle and spy on the lives of mutual acquaintances.

In an attempt to run from her reality Anne becomes engrossed in a game of fun and flirtation with her friend and fellow sufferer Connie.

Their fun games turn into a deadly reality. It is no longer a game. Life, death and not even a defining word can stop the reality of manipulation.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Michael Thal 5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets Will Destroy You  Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2020

Do you have a secret? Most of us do. In the words of author MCV Egan, “If you share a secret it will no longer be a secret.” To keep your secrets safe, keep them to yourself, for they give you power. And if you share your secret, “…it will destroy you!” Keep this in mind as you read Egan’s superbly written novel, Defined by Others.”

Written in the first person narrative, Anne Geyer tells her tale of betrayal and lies. At age 47, her husband Frank pulls a “Grace and Frankie” by coming out of the closet, from a closet, to let Anne know he’s leaving her for a man. Who turns out to be her high school friend, Connie’s husband, Mike.

Like on the Netflix blockbuster show, “Grace and Frankie,” Anne and Connie pull together to fight their depression and lost lives.

Meanwhile, a frenemy, Amanda, from Skvallerby High School, dies. She leaves Anne an organized social media game to meddle and spy on the lives of mutual acquaintances. Anne and Connie embrace the game in an attempt to escape their own reality, and the consequences could prove deadly.

Defined by Others is a 170-page novel exploring the darker side of relationships causing readers to pause and think of their own friendships and loves and how our treatment of others affects each of us in different ways.

The author’s characterization is authentic, the plot is excellent, and the dramatic climax unexpected and dramatic.

Defined by Others is an excellent read and provides an opportunity to wonder, “What would I have done if placed in Anne’s position?”

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Other books by M.C.V. Egan

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US 

And: Amazon UK 

Follow M.C.V. Egan: Goodreads

Connect to Catalina via her website: The Bridge of Deaths

The final author today is A.C. Flory for her Innerscape Omnibus

About the Omnibus

Innerscape: a virtual paradise where the terminally ill live out their lives in young, pain free bodies.
But Miira Tahn discovers paradise is an illusion.
An assassin stalks the Burning Man.
Lies masquerade as truth.
Together with her friends, Miira plunges into a deadly game of cat and mouse.
If she loses, she loses everything.
Her life – Those she loves – All of Innerscape.

A recent review for the omnibus

Kindle Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written and difficult to put down  Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2020

I have been following the author of Innerscape Omnibus for a while via her blog and have grown to appreciate the amount of research she includes for her books. This is the first of her works I’ve read. It is spectacular. She weaves a story so well that I felt as if I were right there. She must be a fan of video games as this aspect is also included. Suspenseful and thought provoking.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by A.C. Flory

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow A.C. Flory: Goodreads

Connect to A.C. Flory (Meeks) via her blog: A.C. Flory WordPress

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Memoir #Africa Ann Patras, #Romance P.C. Zick, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor


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 Ann Patras

A long time ago Ann Patras was born in Burton Upon Trent, England. Actually that’s a lie. Ann Johnson was born, but she married a weirdo named Ziggy and became Ann Patras in the mid 1970’s. She was quite normal until she married him, or that’s what she’d have you believe. At one point she actually went to live in Canada to get away from him but he dragged her back by the hair (well, maybe a slight exaggeration) to England to marry her. Then, after the rather rapid arrival of three kids he hauled her off, kicking and screaming, to Africa! Well that’s a lie too really, as she was quite keen to take on that adventure.

Apart from strange sounding men and three wild children she also loves dogs and horses. (Absolutely nothing should be read into the fact that all of the dogs have been named with an alcoholic theme). She wears garish-coloured nail polish, sings along to loud music when she’s driving and likes to live in sunny places which might account for why, what started out as a two-year contract in Zambia, resulted in her living in Africa for 31 years.

The onset of those 31 years came with some surprises. She didn’t know anything about the place they were moving to (1980 was light years before the internet), if she had known she might not have agreed to go. Within days of arrival in Zambia she was horrified to find they didn’t have English-type pubs, toilet rolls were an endangered species, ants were the size of small cats and there was a fly whose larvae ate you from the inside out if you didn’t iron all your laundry. Yes, even socks!

Because of all these oddities, as well as various strange, scary and hilarious things which happened to the family, she wrote scores of letters home to relatives and friends who all thought it was so crazy she must be making it up.

Maintaining the sunshine theme she now lives in Spain, with the same weird-sounding husband and writes books about all their crazy experiences.

Books by Ann Patras

One of the recent reviews for Much More Into Africa Goodreads

Mar 22, 2020 Tara rated it Five Stars

I couldn’t wait to read this third installation of Ann’s hectic life in Zambia, and it did not disappoint! Once you start reading, it is hard to put down. I especially liked her telling of adventures rafting down the Zambezi–I had a very similar experience just a couple years ago! (The boat next to us flipped and we saw how that got handled! And the hike out of that canyon has not changed in the least, except maybe for a lovely hot meal awaiting us at the top!) I hope Ann will write about her next adventures in S.A…? As having been an expat myself, I just loved it when she talked about friendships in the expat community being so much stronger. I hope you tale the opportunity to go in this adventure with Ann and all her kids, husband, dogs and horses. Ann has a hilarious way of retelling all these details from her life–I am glad she kept such good records of her letter writing.

Ann Patras, Buy: Amazon UK –  And:Amazon US – Follow Ann:  Goodreads – Website: Ann Patras AuthorFacebook: Ann Patras Author

Meet P.C. Zick

Bestselling author P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and creative nonfiction. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction.

The three novels in her Florida Fiction Series contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. She says her, “Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife–both human and animal–supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable.”

P.C. writes both sweet and steamy romances. The sweet contemporary romances in her Smoky Mountain Romances, are set in southwest North Carolina. Another sweet romance series, Rivals in Love, contains two books with four more in the works. All six follow the Crandall family of Chicago as the siblings find love despite their focus on successful careers.

Her steamy romances go from Florida to Long Island. The Behind the Love series, set in a small fictional town in Florida, feature a community of people who form bonds as they learn to overcome the challenges of their youth. Her Montauk Romances are set in and around Long Island and feature simple, yet sophisticated beach houses designed with romance in mind. The two books in this set are filled with steamy scenes as love grows and thrives.

No matter the genre of novel, they all contain elements of romance with strong female characters, handsome heroes, and descriptive settings. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion, and through her fiction, she imparts this philosophy in an entertaining manner with an obvious love for her characters, plot, and themes.

A selection of books by P.C. Zick

 

One of the recent reviews for Love on the Wind

suzy v. kelly 5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!  Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020

Kiley has a career and wants more personal time. Jeff has a business and wants to pursue other avenues associated with the business. Appearances aren’t always what they seem to be. Read the book and find out if they can make their future work. Definitely recommend!

P.C. Zick, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow P.C. Zick  :Goodreads –  WebsiteP.C. ZickTwitter @PCZick

Meet Lorinda J. Taylor

A former catalogue librarian with two graduate degrees, Lorinda J. Taylor was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and worked in several different academic libraries before returning to the place of her birth, where she now lives. She has written fantasy and science fiction for years but began to self-publish only in 2011. To this point, she has published fifteen science fiction/fantasy novels, including seven volumes of a series retelling myths in terms of her intelligent termite civilization. Her writings combine many aspects of science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, future history, off-world adventure, psychological fiction, and even a love story. She always strives to engage readers emotionally and give them something to think about at the end of each book.

A selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor.

A review for The Man Who Found Birds Among the Stars, Part Seven: Fifth Island in the River

Audrey Driscoll 5.0 out of 5 stars Discovery and Disaster Reviewed in Canada on March 17, 2020

This is the seventh part of the fictional biography of 28th century spacefarer Robbin Nikalishin. It’s every bit as gripping and exciting as the very first book. No, actually it’s even more so, because in this book, the long-anticipated voyage to the stars actually happens.

The first third of the book shows Capt. Robbie and his crew launch into space and settle into shipboard routines in a long series of temporal quantum jumps and intervals that eventually take them to the vicinity of the star Epsilon Eridani. The only shadow on this optimistic beginning is the secretly delusional state of Chief Engineer Ian Glencrosse. Otherwise, we have a multicultural storytelling session, hormone-driven hijinks, birthday celebrations, and even a wedding. I laughed out loud at some scenes and was moved to tears at others. Many of the crew members are familiar personalities from the earlier books, so it’s easy to relate to them as they interact and become an extended family.

Things get serious when part of the ship’s engine malfunctions. Two tension-filled chapters are followed by relief and the thrill of discovery and a series of historical “firsts.” Then, just over the halfway point, real disaster strikes and the tension is cranked up to excruciating. There were many places where I honestly did not want to keep reading, but couldn’t make myself stop. I will say no more at this point, except that the ending promises momentous revelations for humans of the 28th century as well as readers of the 21st. Those who have read Lorinda J. Taylor’s book The Termite Queen may guess at some of them. I hope Part 8 is in the works!

A few things that impressed me especially: first, the extent to which Robbin Nikalishin has grown and matured since his younger days. He has definitely overcome some of his personality flaws to the point that he draws upon his earlier errors and their consequences in dealing with a number of issues on this all-important mission to the stars. Second, the aforementioned wedding scene includes a tantalizing glimpse into the writings of one of the Mythmakers. The Valley of the White Bear and the character Ingreaf are referenced in several of the earlier books, so I was intrigued to learn a little more about them here. Finally, I continue to be impressed with the technological terms for temporal quantum engines and other devices that do not as yet exist. When the Engineers and technical crew deal with these items, their discussions sound absolutely authentic (bearing in mind that I’m neither engineer nor scientist).

It may be argued that a reader committed to a long-running series may not be an entirely objective reviewer. On the other hand, having followed Capt. Robbie’s career through its many ups and downs, I would have been disappointed if this episode had been less than thrilling. I was certainly not disappointed, and would definitely recommend this book to anyone who appreciates serious science fiction leavened with realistic human relationships and emotions. But you really have to read the first six books to fully appreciate this one!

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

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.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Seven: Fifth Island in the River: A Biographical Fiction by Lorinda J. Taylor


Congratulations to Lorinda J. Taylor for her latest book The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Seven: Fifth Island in the River: A Biographical Fiction

About the book

The Phenix Project for Interstellar Flight has launched its first mission – a flight to the star system called Epsilon Eridani, 10.5 light years away. Capt. Robbin Nikalishin is finally achieving his dream, although the recent breakup with his wife Fedaylia High Feather can’t help but sour the pleasure a little. However, the mission begins on a positive note and its first half is marred only by some personnel conflicts and serious injuries. Meanwhile, the Chief Engineer Ian Glencrosse continues to believe a demonic space entity has doomed the mission and this entity will relent only if provided with a sacrifice – the death of Ian himself.

The ship IS Ariana arrives at Epsilon Eri and deploys the Mission Specialists’ life-seeking probe on a young planet that may harbor nascent life. They are on the verge of retrieving the probe when a series of disasters puts the mission in jeopardy. Will Ian’s self-sacrifice come in time, or will the ship run out of oxygen before the Dauntless can come to its rescue?
Meanwhile, it seems Earthers are not the only interstellar travelers voyaging in the vicinity ..

And early review for the book

Audrey Driscoll 5.0 out of 5 stars Discovery and DisasterReviewed in Canada on March 17, 2020

This is the seventh part of the fictional biography of 28th century spacefarer Robbin Nikalishin. It’s every bit as gripping and exciting as the very first book. No, actually it’s even more so, because in this book, the long-anticipated voyage to the stars actually happens.

The first third of the book shows Capt. Robbie and his crew launch into space and settle into shipboard routines in a long series of temporal quantum jumps and intervals that eventually take them to the vicinity of the star Epsilon Eridani. The only shadow on this optimistic beginning is the secretly delusional state of Chief Engineer Ian Glencrosse. Otherwise, we have a multicultural storytelling session, hormone-driven hijinks, birthday celebrations, and even a wedding. I laughed out loud at some scenes and was moved to tears at others. Many of the crew members are familiar personalities from the earlier books, so it’s easy to relate to them as they interact and become an extended family.

Things get serious when part of the ship’s engine malfunctions. Two tension-filled chapters are followed by relief and the thrill of discovery and a series of historical “firsts.” Then, just over the halfway point, real disaster strikes and the tension is cranked up to excruciating. There were many places where I honestly did not want to keep reading, but couldn’t make myself stop. I will say no more at this point, except that the ending promises momentous revelations for humans of the 28th century as well as readers of the 21st. Those who have read Lorinda J. Taylor’s book The Termite Queen may guess at some of them. I hope Part 8 is in the works!

A few things that impressed me especially: first, the extent to which Robbin Nikalishin has grown and matured since his younger days. He has definitely overcome some of his personality flaws to the point that he draws upon his earlier errors and their consequences in dealing with a number of issues on this all-important mission to the stars. Second, the aforementioned wedding scene includes a tantalizing glimpse into the writings of one of the Mythmakers. The Valley of the White Bear and the character Ingreaf are referenced in several of the earlier books, so I was intrigued to learn a little more about them here. Finally, I continue to be impressed with the technological terms for temporal quantum engines and other devices that do not as yet exist. When the Engineers and technical crew deal with these items, their discussions sound absolutely authentic (bearing in mind that I’m neither engineer nor scientist).

It may be argued that a reader committed to a long-running series may not be an entirely objective reviewer. On the other hand, having followed Capt. Robbie’s career through its many ups and downs, I would have been disappointed if this episode had been less than thrilling. I was certainly not disappointed, and would definitely recommend this book to anyone who appreciates serious science fiction leavened with realistic human relationships and emotions. But you really have to read the first six books to fully appreciate this one!

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Lorinda J. Taylor

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Lorinda on : Goodreads

About Lorinda J. Taylor

A former catalogue librarian with two graduate degrees, Lorinda J. Taylor was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and worked in several different academic libraries before returning to the place of her birth, where she now lives. She has written fantasy and science fiction for years but began to self-publish only in 2011. To this point, she has published fifteen science fiction/fantasy novels, including seven volumes of a series retelling myths in terms of her intelligent termite civilization. Her writings combine many aspects of science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, future history, off-world adventure, psychological fiction, and even a love story. She always strives to engage readers emotionally and give them something to think about at the end of each book.

Connect to Lorinda

Blog: Termite Writer Blogspot
Twitter: @TermiteWriter

It would be great if you could share the news of Lorinda’s new book – Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Shortstories Karen Ingalls, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor


Welcome to the last author update for 2019 and some recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author with recent reviews is Marcia Meara for Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4: The Light the latest in the Paranormal fantasy series.

About the book

The Magic is Back!

For Robert MacKenzie Cole—or Rabbit, as he’s known to all—the chance to accompany his family to see North Carolina’s infamous Brown Mountain Lights has him nearly dizzy with excitement. And what better night to watch this unexplained phenomenon unfold than Halloween?

But when the entrancing, unpredictable lights show up, Rabbit gets far more than he bargained for. He’s gifted with what folks in the Appalachians call “the Sight,” and it’s this extrasensory perception that enables him to spot the one light different from all the rest.

In his biggest challenge to date, Rabbit—aided by his daddy and his newest friend, Austin Dupree— begins a quest to learn more about the mysterious light. Their investigation unveils a web of cons and corruption none of them expected and exposes a brutal murder along the way.

Throughout all, Rabbit is unfaltering in his commitment to do whatever it takes to understand the truth behind the glowing orb and to determine how he can help it. After all, it followed him home.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I have read and enjoyed all of Marcia Meara’s Wake Robin Ridge books, but The Light, is quite possibly my favorite. Rabbit¬—a very special eleven-year-old boy who grew up in Appalachia, now the adopted son of Sarah and Mac—takes center stage yet again. Gifted with “the sight” which allows him to see future events as well as “read” others, he is wise beyond his years. An old soul who has a unique way of viewing the world, he has a folksy charm that resonates with every word he utters. Meara’s gift of writing him is exquisite, and despite numerous well-rounded and lovable characters, it’s Rabbit who steals the show.

I adore Mac and Sarah—mostly because of Rabbit’s pure-hearted love for them, and their utter devotion and fierce protective love for him. I’m enamored of several new characters who make their debut in this book—especially Austin—but once you meet Rabbit, you’re eternally smitten. No two ways about it. He’s a character who lingers long after you’ve read the last paragraph.

An added bonus is the inclusion of the Brown Mountain Lights, an unexplained phenomenon that has long fascinated me. Meara does an excellent job of weaving their appearance into a multi-layered plot which covers the gamut from high-brow society to misguided con artists.

If you like family stories with plenty of warmth, ¬¬¬threads of the supernatural and folklore, plus a well-plotted mystery, don’t miss the latest in the Wake Robin Ridge Series. Five big glittery stars!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Marcia Meara

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Marcia Meara on: Goodreads

Connect to Marcia via her blog: Marcia Meara Writes

The next author with a recent review for her recently released collection of short stories is Karen Ingalls for When I Rise: Tales, Truths and Symbolic Trees

As always Karen will be donating all proceeds o to ovarian cancer research.

About the collection

When I Rise: Tales, Truths, and Symbolic Trees is a series of twelve short stories inspired by a poem written by Ms. Ingalls’ grandson. Each story (tale) brings to light one or more social or moral issues, the truth is the lesson(s) to be learned, and the symbolism of a tree provides the ways we can learn how to live, grow, change, and die.

A recent review for the book

Ms Fiza Pathan 4.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Collection!  November 30, 2019

When I Rise’ is a charming collection of short stories based on special trees & their unique symbols to the plots. Be it child abuse, a difficult divorce, bulimia, caring for the elderly, Alzheimer’s disease etc., each short story in this collection has a tree to celebrate it’s gifts to humanity. Award winning author Karen Ingalls captures the heart of the reader by her wonderful prose. Her love for gardening & nature is brought out beautifully in this little book. I recommend this book to every tree lover out there. Buy your copy of Ingalls’ book today & be uplifted. This book will let you know the magic of trees & how we must persevere in spite of all the odds against us, to achieve everlasting bliss, like the eternal trees themselves. Go & get your copy of ‘When I Rise’ today, you won’t regret it. I liked the way each tree highlighted a different social issue & I think you will too. I hope to read more books by Karen Ingalls in the near future. She has done a marvelous job with this tiny book. My favorite part was about the story of Daisy the duck. No! You’re not getting any spoilers from me – get your copy today. Happy reading to everyone!

Head over to read the reviews: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Also by Karen Ingalls.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Karen: Goodreads

Connect to Karen via her blog: Karen Ingalls Blog

And the final author today with a recent review is Lorinda J. Taylor for The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Six: Merlin: A Biographical Fiction

Part one and two of this series are 99c/99p until midnight December 31st on Amazon and Smashwords.

About the book

As preparation for the first star-mission continues, the new crewmembers begin to interact with one another, new relationships form, old ones continue to evolve, and life on Earth moves forward. Capt. Nikalishin’s wife persists in disrupting his life no matter how he tries to discourage her. Cmdr. Glencrosse remains under psychiatric treatment for his delusions about an entity out to destroy the mission, but nevertheless his Captain continues to support his appointment as Chief Engineer of the Ariana. Too many complexities exist in their relationship for either of them to cast the other aside.At last the mission’s destination and date of departure are set. Ian Glencrosse attempts to reconcile with his father, with ominous consequences which he reveals to no one. Furthermore, on the eve of departure, the High Feather makes another unexpected appearance … It’s too late to alter history …

One of the recent reviews for the book

The sixth part of this biographical fiction, and we’re deep into the life story of spacefarer Robbin Nikalishin. In this book, temporal quantum flight resumes at last, for the first time since the disaster that ended Part 1. Part 6, therefore, is largely concerned with preparations for the Big Mission to the stars — recruiting a crew, team building, training, testing, and dealing with a multiplicity of issues. Tech is a big part of this, of course, and I was impressed by how realistically it’s described (but then, I’m not a physicist or engineer!) One thing I really like about all these books is that even though they are hard science fiction, the tech is delivered in digestible form and complemented with human issues anyone can relate to.

A subplot involving one of the Darter survivors deals with religion and its place in the new world of the 28th century, especially the conflict that arises from faith-based convictions.
As the date of the Big Mission approaches, tension builds, reaching fever pitch in the final chapters. Personal issues add to it, in particular Robbie’s broken marriage and his conflicted feelings about his estranged wife, Fedaylia. An even more troubling element is his Chief Engineer, Ian Glencrosse, and his irrational conviction that the mission is doomed unless he takes drastic action. The book ends with a convergence of these issues at the very brink of humanity’s ascent to the stars.

I can’t wait for Part 7!

While I enthusiastically recommend this book to any reader who enjoys adept and thoughful writing, I suggest anyone new to this multi-volume work start with Part 1 and prepare for a long and fascinating experience.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Lorinda J. Taylor

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Lorinda on : Goodreads

Blog: Termite Writer Blog Spot

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