Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Space Eloise de Sousa, #Fantasy Paul Andruss, #Teddybears Frank Prem


Welcome to the Children’s Christmas book fair with books for children up to the age of twelve years old. All of which would make great gifts.

Today I am sharing three books in the Children’s Cafe that I have personally reviewed and can recommend.

The first author today is Eloise de Sousa with my review from 2019 for Space Dust which is a delightful read for children of all ages.

About Space Dust

We’re going on a trip in Big Ox’s canoe. Watch the fire bears roar on Venus as pepper pot trees grow on the moon. As Big Ox steers us to the planets, Litte One wonders if Mum will come home soon.

My review for Space Dust October 2019

A wonderful journey around the planets in a canoe paddled by a favourite spoon that will delight younger readers, and those reading the story to them. There are beautifully colourful illustrations between the stages of the trip, which will encourage a pause in the storytelling, offering an opportunity to discuss the journey so far. The two main characters, Big Ox and Little One are lovable travel companions as they head off in search of Little One’s mum. and discover creatures such as sea horses swimming in creamy mushroom soup. It is also an excellent introduction to our solar system for young children, and definitely a book to stimulate imagination and creativity.

At this time of year I am always looking out for print books for children for Christmas gifts that they can physically hold and enjoy many times. I can recommend Space Dust as a perfect example of this.

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

 

Moofy and Flo is available: Lulu Ebook –  Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK Follow Eloise Goodreads – Connect to Eloise: Blog –  Twitter: @mello_elo

The next author with a book that would be perfect for older children is Paul Andruss who recently released an updated version of Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer (Book 1) with Black Wolf Books

Thomas-Cover (1).jpg

About the book

Fairies took his brother…

When Jack sees a sinister woman kidnap his bother Dan, he knows his parents will never believe him. Nor will the police. Not when he says Dan vanished into thin air. If Jack wants to see Dan again, he has to save him. And not just him …

If he ever wants to find Dan, first he must save Thomas the Rhymer from a wicked enemy.

Bravely embarking on a rollercoaster adventure into the dark fairy realm, Jack and friends face monstrous griffins and brooding tapestries with a life of their own, learn to use magic mirrors and travel on ley lines that whip them off faster than sound

Even if he returns Thomas the Rhymer to his selfish fairy queen, she might make Jack her prisoner. With the odds stacked against him, can Jack succeed in finding and freeing Dan?

My review for the original edition of the book (I am sure that it is even more intriguing now)

S. G. Cronin –5.0 out of 5 stars Challenge your senses with a rival to Harry Potter. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 March 2017

After 60 odd years of reading it is easy to get into bad habits. By this I mean sticking to the tried and tested with regard to genres and authors. This is not healthy when you are a writer yourself, as I have discovered when reading Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss.

I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling when it was released. Whilst I enjoyed it as a children’s story, I really did not find myself engaged or inspired to read the other seven books or watch the movies. I felt excluded from the millions who did and usually keep my silence in the face of fans.

However, Thomas the Rhymer had me hooked from page one and continued to keep me engaged the entire 319 pages.

This is an ensemble piece with a cast of characters that would be happy in starring roles in Alice in Wonderland or any Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Jack Hughes, Ken, Catherine and the delightful Rosie, along with Thomas with his foot in this world and that of the Fairies; draw you into their inner circle and hold you fast.

Each of these wonderfully drawn characters face challenges in their past or present that make them feel isolated until they join forces to protect the most vulnerable amongst them and bring a brother home.

The story will challenge your beliefs in spectacular fashion. Is there another world or worlds running parallel with ours, are fairies sweet and delicate creatures or demons; is that tramp outside the Post Office real or an illusion? As you travel with Jack, Ken and Catherine on their quest, hurtling along ley lines and battling fantastic monsters and evil temptresses, you will find your heart beating a little bit faster. And probably checking under your bed at night!

The scenes set in London that criss cross centuries are filled with historical facts distorted with fairy dust. Next time you are in the city and walking the streets you will be looking into dark doorways and wondering if behind that old oak door with chipped paint lies a nest of elfin waiting to rob you of your senses.

The writing is superb with wit, humour and an edge that turns this from a children’s fairy story into a multi-generational adventurous fantasy that I believe knocks Harry Potter into a cocked hat!

I recommend reading Thomas the Rhymer and at any price it is a steal worthy of the elfin themselves with a value of very much more in my opinion. There are more books to come in the Jack Hughes series and I would love to see the movies.

Challenge you senses and pick up a copy today.

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

You can listen to the music that has been created for the book by classical composer Patrick Hartnett: Score for Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USWebsite: Jack Hughes Books  –  follow Paul: Goodreads  Twitter: @Paul_JHBooks

And finally today a review for Frank Prem... for one of his children’s poetry story books…A Beechworth Bakery Bears (The Beechworth Bakery Bears 1) You can also find Frank in the main Cafe and Bookstore with his other poetry collections.

About the stories

The Beechworth Bakery Bears are having lots of fun.

They are rowing in regattas and taking tea in the pie warmer.

They are riding on bobsleds and slurping coffee.

They are keeping watch over the bakery and making sure that everyone has cake to eat.

They are waiting, and hoping, that someone might take them home, where perhaps scones will be made!

They are ready to tell you all their stories . . .

My review for the book August 6th 2020 – Perfect for children of all ages

Step back in time to your teddy bear years… easy to do with this lovely picture book

I thoroughly enjoyed this small but fun filled book about a group of bears in a bakery. They are the PR team encouraging customers to buy the delicious goods on sale and hopefully adopt one of them to take home with them. Some go as far to put themselves in paper bags ready to go…I would certainly be tempted.

There are wonderful images with individual poems telling each story and the bears are clearly pranksters with honey a great motivator.

If I was to pick a favourite it would be the acapella bear band, Chutney and the Condiments… definitely had me smiling.

I am sure that every child would love to read this picture book and share it with their parents.

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

Also by Frank Prem for children.

Frank Prem, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Website:Frank Prem – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter:@frank_prem

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope that you have found some wonderful book gifts for the younger members of the family.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Recent Authors in the Cafe -#Dark Humour Carol La Hines, #History Joyce Hampton, #Fantasy Paul Andruss


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.

There have been some new editions to the Cafe over the last few weeks and in the last two posts of the series I would like to remind you of their books.

Meet Carol LaHines

I am a life-long New Yorker. I went to New York University and St. John’s School of Law and now live in Tudor City, a charming neighborhood near the United Nations. I was a practicing musician and a lawyer before becoming a published author. While practicing law at a big law firm in New York City, I began writing fiction. I published short stories over a period of years, in journals like Fence, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, Cimarron Review, redivider, Sycamore Review, and others.

Someday Everything All Makes Sense is my first published novel. I was able to mine my knowledge of the law and music theory in telling the story of Luther van der Loon, an eccentric harpsichord who has recently suffered the trauma of losing his mother. Luther is preoccupied with existential questions and questions concerning temperament, the mathematical ratios that govern how we hear music.

Like most of my writing, the novel might be characterized as tragic-comic. I believe, like the great Italo Calvino, that “lightness” — by which I mean to say a sense of playfulness leavening the serious — is a cardinal virtue of writing. (I love Calvino, Joyce, Nabokov, Woolf, Borges, Melville, Chekhov, Gogol, Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy, Sebald…

One of the recent reviews for the book

DJ Stram 5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing and a memorable main character!  Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2020

Carol LaHines has created a unique and realistic character, and I hope this book becomes a film so I can see Luther van der Loon on screen! Luther is a lovably neurotic medieval music professor whose mother dies eating takeout from their favorite Chinese restaurant when a rubbery won-ton becomes trapped in her throat. There were many surprises, and I found myself suddenly laughing loudly along the way as I turned the pages, wondering what would become of Luther without his dear mother.

Luther is not unlike those of us who have lost loved ones, but he is unlike anyone I know in his obsessive observations as he moves through his grief–very slowly.

If you love quirky characters and humor, this book will not disappoint. In addition to Luther, there are sub-characters who contribute to the dark humor. Piccolo Fabrizzi, a visiting music professor deserves his own book–plenty of rich character and so aptly described by the author.

If you are looking for intelligent writing, highly amusing characters, and ample humor, Someday Everything Will All Makes sense is a great fit!

Carol LaHines, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK –  follow Carol: Goodreads – Website: Carol LaHines – Twitter: @CLahines

Meet Joyce Hampton

I was born in Stratford E15 and moved around various areas of London before finally settling in Surrey with my husband John and our two cairn terriers.

I began writing in 2012 and my first book was: Looking back – A century of life in Bethnal Green, this book evolved from tracking other people’s recollections as the primary source material, partly family anecdotes, of the amusing, sad or serious into a written record. This research was supplemented by cross-checking documented events, in London libraries and archives to ensure that the book is both easy to read as well as being factually correct. I gradually found that I had created a walk through time account of the Bethnal Green area of the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes the Bethnal Green tube disaster of 1943.

My newest book is The Story of the Huguenots: A unique Legacy. It is a 500 page book but with a difference as it is a FACTUAL NOVEL in other words it has the factual history of the Huguenots but written in the expected format of a novel in the belief that the reader will find it more engaging and will want to discover more about this amazing group of people. The book is divided into four parts (all within the one book). I also take bookings for talks and lectures on the subject, including, as an example, a slot at the annual Write Idea Festival in London (November 18) which was to a very appreciative audience of over 100 people.

Books by Joyce Hampton

One of the reviews for the previous edition of The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy

What I had been searching for some time was a concise yet comprehensive history of the origins, sufferings and contributions of these brave and industrious people. The author does not fail to deliver on any of these, and the writing style Joyce Hampton employs makes the entire story so easy to read that even if you knew very little about the subject beforehand, you will gain so much learning and enjoyment from reading this. I particularly enjoyed the way In which the major events, such as the Edict of Nantes, as well as the Revocation, are described and evaluated whilst simultaneously the reader is provided with personal accounts of people’s often horrific experiences of such religious intolerance. You’ll be able to feel what they went through, and of course, many of these lessons still resonate with us today. Sometimes neighbour helped neighbour; sometimes, they didn’t. The story is as up to date as any such story can be – twentieth century events are narrated, and you’ll learn of events that took place even in 2017 too. I do not hesitate to recommend this book to all.

Joyce Hampton, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Joyce  : Goodreads – Website:Not Just Another Book Twitter: @NJABOfficial

Meet Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss returns to the limelight with a brand new edition of Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer (Book 1). It has been published by Black Wolf Books

Born and reared in Liverpool, the city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark on the young Paul Andruss. After dropping out of sixth-form, because he was keen to get out into the world, Paul took his A-levels at Bootle Tech Night School, while working for the local Tax Office. He applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University on the grounds that anything was better than work. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when his application was accepted.

After graduation Paul worked in rugged Cumbria, Manchester and London before moving to Turkey. To finance his passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of the ruined cities and temples he visited. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign.

Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in rural South Wales in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult, magical realism, Jack Hughes trilogy and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool, a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All works are scheduled for release with Black Wolf Books, an exciting new, independent Scottish publisher.

One of the reviews for the previous edition

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A magical read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 November 2017

Just about the worst thing that can happen to any family is the disappearance of a child. This is exactly what happens in Jack’s family and, worse still, Jack is a witness to his older brother’s sudden and troubling disappearance.

The facts of the disappearance are very peculiar and, subsequent to his disappearance, Jack receives strange telephone calls from his brother, Dan, on his cell phone. When he answers, Dan says nothing and the line goes dead. Jack finds himself unable to tell anyone about what his saw that day, as soon as he tries he starts to choke and can’t utter a word. Then a strange tramp appears who speaks only in rhymes. The tramp, whom only Jack can see, seems to be able to pass through walls and disappear at will. All of this is against a background of stress at home due to Jack’s mother suffering from a chronic illness.

Jack finds himself embroiled in the magical kingdom of the fairies and soon discovers that their failing world is tinged with evil. Jack and his friends experience an array of mystical and strange happenings including travelling by fairy ley lines and disappearing into a living tapestry.

Author Paul Andruss has an expert knowledge of mythical creatures and the world of the fairies which he shares with the reader using the most beautiful and expressive language. He pulls you into this fairy world, which exists in parallel to our own and which is fraught with difficulties due to human technology and progress. This book also shares valuable lessons about everything not being as it appears to be and the value of strong friendships.

Who is the strange tramp and what does he want from Jack? Can he help Jack to find his brother and bring him back before it is too late?

A few beautiful quotes from this book are as follows:

“Beautiful,” she signed, mesmerized by the shifting hues washing over the weave like skeins of mist.”

“Drifts of heady perfume left Jack heavy-eyed, yet giddy with recklessness.”

“The tramp was back on Mr Gibson’s wall. All he could think about was the poem. Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there… He wasn’t there again today… I wish that man would GO AWAY!”

This book is suitable for readers aged from 11 years and older. Adult readers will also appreciate the delightful prose, beautiful imagery and clever story line.

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USWebsite: Jack Hughes Books  –  follow Paul: GoodreadsTwitter: @Paul_JHBooks

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share…one more post to go in the series tomorrow with more recent authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.