Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Poetry Annette Rochelle Aben, #Family Sagas Judith Barrow, #Fantasy Richard Dee


In this first feature for the Smorgasbord Bookshelf I am sharing authors whose books I have read and can personally recommend along with one of my reviews for their books.

The first author and poet today is Annette Rochelle Aben who generously visits and shares many blogs in the writing community. Apart from spreading love and kindness, Annette is also a wonderful poet with a number of seasonal and annual collections which I have enjoyed.

Meet Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Tell Me A Story with Annette Rochelle Aben | The Magic Happens (TMH)

A love of writing, began for Annette when she was but a small child. Of course, she gives all the credit to her parents, who read to her and her siblings from the moment they were born. Once in school, teachers took over the roles of main influencers, as they required the students to do a lot of (wait for it… wait for it…) WRITING!

Over the years, Annette has been blessed with having both hobbies and jobs that required her to write. This resulted in her winning the admiration of peers and industry professionals alike. Publication lead to awards, which provided even more encouragement and now, Annette Rochelle Aben is a #1 Best Selling Author!

These days, Annette writes poetry books, coaches others through the writing of their books, and edits articles for the digital magazine The Magic Happens.

Along the way, Annette found time to explore the worlds of Aroma Therapy, Astrology, Bach Flower Essences, Crystal Therapy, Feng Shui, Hypnotherapy, Music Therapy, Numerology, Reiki, and Tarot. Guided by her Angels as to what to study and with whom, Annette turned many of her studies into sideline businesses.

January 2022 Son of Booku was awarded an honorable mention by Author Shout

A selection of books by Annette Rochelle Aben

My review for the Booku September 2021

This book has two lovely purposes… The first is a tribute to the author’s sister who has become somewhat of a neighbourhood legend with the amazing Halloween displays she creates each year with photographs showcasing her skills.

Secondly it is a vehicle to demonstrate how Annette Rochelle Aben can turn even a gruesome skeleton or demonic mask into a thing of beauty by the use of her descriptive Haiku.

No mean feat to strike terror in the hearts of her readers whilst delighting them with the humour she employs.

This is a short read but long on great poetry and images. I can recommend as a wonderful gift in print for children in the family to mark this festivity. For adults it will remind them of the joys of adjusting fangs and green slime before heading out to terrify the neighbourhood into giving them treats. Also provide some ideas on how to decorate their own house and garden this coming Halloween.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Annette: Goodreads – Blog: Annette Rochelle Aben WordPress – Twitter:@YouAreTheExpert

I have nearly all of Judith Barrow’s books and have been engaged and delighted by them all. Family sagas across the last century reflecting love, loss and hope.

Meet Judith Barrow

Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, a group of villages on the edge of the Pennines,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for over forty years.

She has an MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University. She is a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council and holds private one to one workshops on all genres.

Books by Judith Barrow

My review for The Heart Stone February 2021

I have read nearly all of Judith Barrow’s previous novels and was delighted when a new book was announced.

As always the author has created a cast of characters that embody all aspects of human nature and are guaranteed to elicit an emotional response. Combined with the harsh reality of life during this dreadful period in history, Judith Barrow has written a compelling saga .

The book covers seven years in the lives of two young people who face moments of joy but also untold dangers, loss, and at times despair. Arthur at only 16 is thrown into the maelstrom of the first year of the war leaving behind Jessie, his first and only love, to face her own devastating life events on the home front.

Times were very hard and despite the progress made by the suffragette movement, for women it was even tougher. Despite some enlightened men, particularly in this small village, the pressure was applied forcing women into marriages doomed from the start.

I am not going to share any spoilers but I do recommend The Heart Stone as a wonderful story with well drawn characters which will certainly bring you to tears from time to time. The author deals with the heartbreak and trauma with great sensitivity but does not shy away from writing honestly. This includes a thread of hope running through the novel which leads to a fitting conclusion to the story.

As with all the books of Judith Barrow, I highly recommend The Heart Stone. It is a story that will linger in your mind for a long time to come.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Judith: Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

The final author today is Richard Dee, a prolific author of science fiction and fantasy novels. The books I have read are very enjoyable and I can highly recommend.

Meet Richard Dee

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I made up stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective.

Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.

Check out my videos on Richard Dee’s Scifi where you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors.

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

My review for The Syk’m September 2021

This is the first venture into fantasy by Richard Dee but I hope it won’t be his last. As an author he is known for his excellent world building and he has carried that across to The Syk’m, creating a number of different worlds that find themselves overlapping by design and sometimes by accident.

Although there are interesting differences physically between the races, there is also a meeting of minds and emotions that provides for some interesting interactions. There is an enemy intent on taking over the world of the Syk’m that have little intention of stopping their advance there. With connecting corridors to other planets the way lies open for a domination of the universe.

The band of young trainee warriors from Skander have a difficult quest ahead of them, filled with danger, far from family and a peaceful existence now enjoyed by their world. Much will be asked of them and the outcome is far from certain.

The characters are all well-crafted, each bringing something significant to the story. Although a fantasy world, there are parallels to be drawn with our own with power seekers,  treachery and corruption. There are also heroes willing to sacrifice their lives to succeed in this mission to save this world and others at risk, and to fight shoulder to shoulder with new allies.

I recommend this to those who enjoy well-written fantasy with excellent characters, great world building and plenty of action.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1 Facebook:Richard Dee Author

 

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update #Reviews – #Fantasy Richard Dee, #History Patricia Furstenberg, #Fantasy Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene


The first review is for the latest release by Richard Dee.. a Fantasy YA/Teen Sci-fi adventure – The Syk’m. – I have recently read and reviewed and can highly recommend.

About the book

Behave, or the Syk’m will come and take you away.

That was the threat hanging over my childhood, the terrifying punishment that made us all obedient.
As children, we were told that the Syk’m watched over us. Should we misbehave, they could do unimaginable things.

Because we were young and knew no better, the mere mention of their name was enough to control us. We went to bed, minded our manners, stopped our shouting.

Although the Syk’m were mythical creatures, never seen, we all believed in their power over us.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I thought that I had outgrown the unseen terrors of my childhood. I thought that I no longer believed in the power of the Syk’m.

Then the day came when I discovered that the Syk’m were real. The day they found me. Their message was clear. Despite everything I had imagined, they needed my help.

It was the day I discovered that they were not the monsters we had all believed them to be.

There were others in the universe.

One of the recent reviews for the book

kayleigh whittle 5.0 out of 5 stars YA Fantasy, nailed  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 October 2021

Not my first dip in to YA Fantasy, unlike the author, who has really impressed me with this debut into the genre. The great thing about fantasy as a genre is that nothing is off limits, anything that you can imagine is possible. Skander had always been brought up to fear those called The Syk’m, behave or they would come and take yiy away. Hors Lawis is on the cusp of manhood and after thousands of years peace on skander doesn’t have much to look forward to and life is well, pretty boring. That is until he unwittingly meets the beautiful and mysterious Enuna. Curious yet suspicious Hors allows Enuna took take him to her world, Syk’m and the city of Bokon. There all of what he was made to believe as a child is brought in to question and in fact the Syk’m simply aren’t what he was told.

Needing his help to save their world, Hors goes on a daring and exciting adventure of discovery and self growth. The world building in this book is effortless, it flows so well and the characters have been well thought out and executed. All fans of fantasy will enjoy this magical, delightful and exciting story of self worth, acceptance and friendship.

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1 Facebook:Richard Dee Author

The next review is for the recent release by Patricia Furstenberg – Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

About the book

In Transylvania’s History A to Z, a collection of 100-word stories sprinkled with breathtaking photographs, Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.

Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Written as snapshots, tall tales, and descriptive narratives, these 100-word stories are the espresso of creative writing.

A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1

Each 100 Words Story is followed by a brief historical reference

The unique beauty of a 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between the sentences. So much can be told, with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader, as each time the tale is read, a new detail springs to mind.

“As an armchair historian, I love researching lost tales, traveling, exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no detail is too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100-Word Stories based on the history of Transylvania.” (Patricia Furstenberg)

An recent review for the book

Jen Thomason 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful meeting of language and history  Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2021

This book is a bit unusual in that it is comprised of 100-word short stories providing a fictional story about a time and place in Transylvania, then followed up with a historical explanation of the story and a photograph of the area. Furstenburg’s writing and language are beautiful as always, but I particularly enjoyed the historical snippets and photographs following each story. Prepare to be amazed at the similarities between problems in historical Transylvania and our modern world today. This was a fabulous read and one that I highly recommend.  

A small selection of other books by Patricia Furstenberg (some in Afrikaans)

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK Blog: Alluring Creations Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @PatFurstenberg

The final review is for Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca  by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

About the book

“Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca” resumes outside the Lost Library, where Hallgeir was faced with a decision that could impact the entire world.
.
Lucetius is gravely wounded when he attempts to deliver a message. Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide are again separated from all their friends. The Three must continue their journey without assistance or protection from the other travelers. They must reach the faraway city of Pergesca. That is also the seat of power of the ancient Society of Deae Matres. Will the companions eventually be reunited?
.
A vicious enemy returns, displaying unexpected strength.
.
An important character dies in this novelette. The death of a character is a rare thing in stories written by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D.L. Finn5.0 out of 5 stars I love Emlyn’s growth, but who does she trust now?  Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2021

“Pergesca” continues the journey with Emlyn. She is growing into a powerful young woman that is finally learning to trust herself after being raised not to be heard. She runs into challenges to conquer, and sometimes help comes from unexpected places. A lot went on in this journey, and I don’t want to give anything away, but a certain character’s death was hard-hitting to not only read but for Emlyn. I felt it was necessary for the story, though. I love Zasha, Emlyn, and Osabide as the three and how they work with each other. The place, Pergesca, offers more questions to be answered after some things are resolved. I’m eager to see what happens to Emlyn and her friends, as things seem to come to a critical point. As the story stands now, it’s hard to tell who to trust. A fantastic read, but I recommend you read this journey from the beginning, so you don’t miss out on anything.  

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

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Fantasy Richard Dee, #Horror #Suspense Audrey Driscoll, #Paranormal Romance Marcia Meara


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

The first review is for the latest release by Richard Dee.. a Fantasy YA/Teen Sci-fi adventure – The Syk’m. – I have recently read and reviewed and can highly recommend.

About the book

Behave, or the Syk’m will come and take you away.

That was the threat hanging over my childhood, the terrifying punishment that made us all obedient.
As children, we were told that the Syk’m watched over us. Should we misbehave, they could do unimaginable things.

Because we were young and knew no better, the mere mention of their name was enough to control us. We went to bed, minded our manners, stopped our shouting.

Although the Syk’m were mythical creatures, never seen, we all believed in their power over us.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I thought that I had outgrown the unseen terrors of my childhood. I thought that I no longer believed in the power of the Syk’m.

Then the day came when I discovered that the Syk’m were real. The day they found me. Their message was clear. Despite everything I had imagined, they needed my help.

It was the day I discovered that they were not the monsters we had all believed them to be.

There were others in the universe.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Steven Smith 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantasy Epic  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 October 2021

The Syk’m represents a new genre for Richard Dee, venturing out into the world of fantasy. To date, I’ve read books by Richard Dee in a number of genres and enjoyed them all, so I expected nothing different from this one. The story follows a boy, Hors Lawis, and his friends. In their home of Skandir, the Syk’m are painted as evil, winged monsters, something children are scared into obedience with, lest the Syk’m come and take them away. Hors, roaming the streets and markets of his home for a gift for his mother ahead of her birthday, finds himself distracted by a female. Something about her catches his eye, not least that she has intense blue eyes in a land of brown-eyed people. She carries herself with the strength and purpose of a warrior. As their eyes met the shy Hors could not help but be intrigued. As she disappeared deeper into the markets he could not help but follow.

Down a quiet alley, she pauses, turns and looks at him before stepping through a brick wall. Puzzled and curious in equal measure, Hors followed, arriving not in the building beyond the wall, but a different world altogether. The mysterious girl removes the robe she hid under, unfurling her wings. The Syk’m, Hors quickly realised, were very real. In short order he is lifted into the sky by the Syk’m girl, and sees the sprawling land below. She paints a picture of unrest, of dire situations. The Syk’m are under attack from a band of warriors not of this world, the Druhann. Hors has been brought from his world to help defeat the threat and help restore peace to the world of the Syk’m

Hors, along with the girl, Enuna, must recruit his most trusted friends from Skandir to embark on a highly dangerous mission to cut off the Druhann, bring their leaders to justice and end the war. And perhaps in the process, they would be able to bury the rumours of the Syk’m being monsters once and for all.

Richard Dee is a fantastic writer, and something of a genre journeyman having written brilliant novels in the cosy crime, steampunk and sci-fi genres, so I entered The Syk’m with high hopes. I am a big fan of fantasy, more specifically the enormous Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. While that series is very much a satire of the real world, it also lovingly and mockingly follows many of the standard patterns or tropes of fantasy – warriors and beasts, dragons, kings and queens, witches and wizards and so on. I was pleasantly surprised to find Dee has taken a somewhat different approach to fantasy. It feels every bit a fantasy novel, but without all of the tropes. The adventure is grand in its scale, the characters developing as they work through setbacks and pitfalls. Richard Dee has crafted a fantastical fantasy filled with fun, adventure and danger all in equal measure. I look forward to seeing where he takes this new direction next.  

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1 Facebook:Richard Dee Author

The next review today is for Tales from the Annexe: seven stories from the Herbert West Series and seven other tales by Audrey Driscoll.

About the collection

Seven stories from the world of Audrey Driscoll’s Herbert West Series, followed by seven other tales of illusions, delusions, and mysteries on the edges of logic. Discover Herbert West’s connections to Egypt, and how a dead man can help solve a mystery. Share Charles Milburn’s ruminations as he explores another dimension of his friendship with Herbert. Sample the treats on offer from an ice cream truck from Hell. Ride along with a dad who abandoned his ten-year-old son in the woods where something howls. Find out why a woman paints her bedroom a very special colour. Watch fifteen-year-old Ann as she tries to prove she belongs to the glamorous family on the other side of town. These and seven other curious encounters may be found in this annexe to the ordinary.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

JC Gatlin 5.0 out of 5 stars 14 Short Creepy Tales of Horror & Suspense  Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2021

Tales from the Annexe is an anthology divided into two parts. The first part features seven short stories based on characters and settings from the author’s Herbert West series. The second part consists of seven unrelated short stories, all with an H.P. Lovecraft vibe of a dangerous, paranormal world lurking in the shadows.

I really enjoyed all fourteen stories, though I think I liked the last seven better. These stories are filled with interesting, off-beat characters and the author excels at setting a spooky atmosphere. Each story has a current of suspense that keeps the plot moving forward. You just know something bad is about to happen.

“The Ice Cream Truck from Hell” is absolutely my favorite story in the book. In fact, I read it twice because I was surprisingly blown away after the first read. The two misfit teenagers are so well drawn and have such depth that it makes the fate they’re headed toward become increasingly, nail-bitingly tragic. This is one of those stories that can be analyzed for deeper meanings. The ice cream truck that shows up mysteriously in the middle of the night could be a metaphor for so many things.

“A Howling in the Woods” is another stand out. It’s atmospheric and frightening, following a father and son hunting trip into the dark woods. They shot and wounded an elk and are searching for it as the blood-curdling cries of an animal—the dying elk or something else?—echoes through the trees.
The author has an affinity for writing troubled kids and abusive parents, and the world she’s created is twisted and dark in the most intriguing ways imaginable.

As much as I enjoyed this collection of stories, I do feel that the first seven tied to the Herbert West series are weaker than the final seven. Though I enjoyed them, I’m not sure they’re a good introduction to the series. I felt I was missing some crucial information, since I haven’t read the series. Because they are grouped together, it makes the first half of the book feel less rewarding. I think mixing the original stories with the Herbert West collection would allow each tale to stand on its own merits.

Still, I highly recommend this anthology to fans of horror and suspense. It’s a great read.

A selection of books by Audrey Driscoll

Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website:Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

The final author today is Marcia Meara for a recent review for the first in the Wake-Robin Ridge series that I can highly recommend..

About the book

“A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news . . . Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help.”

On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.

As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.

A story of evil trumped by the power of love and redemption, Wake-Robin Ridge will transport you to the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and introduce you to characters you won’t soon forget

One of the recent reviews for the book

Oct 03, 2021 Debra rated it four stars

Although I’ve seen different labels for this book, I would call it a paranormal romance. There’s certainly a mystery and ghost story as well, but romance is the dominate component. Much of the book unfolds in two different time periods. One begins in 1962 and the other in 2011. In the latter time period, library researcher Sarah Gray finds herself dissatisfied with her job and her life. She quits her job and buys a cabin in Wake-Robin Ridge in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s the peace and quiet Sarah needs to start writing her first novel, but her aloof and handsome neighbor, MacKenzie (Mac) Cole, becomes a distraction.

Although neither she nor Mac are ready for a relationship, they build a friendship which inevitably becomes more. But a violent, terrifying incidents makes it clear that her home isn’t the peaceful refuge Sarah thought. To resolve the problem, she and Mac need to solve the mystery behind the violence. Mac also needs to deal with demons from his past.

Told from both Mac and Sarah’s point of view, plus that of Lloyd and Ruth Carter in the 60’s, it took a while for the story to get going and the tension to build. Once it did, the book became riveting. The more I read, the quicker I turned the pages, especially toward the last third of the book. The descriptions are beautiful and Ruth’s story is heartbreaking. Despite the story being a little long for my taste, it’s still a good read that romance lovers will enjoy. 

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Book Reviews September Recap – #Children Dawn Doig, #Dogs Andrew Cotter, #Fantasy Richard Dee, #Poetry Annette Rochelle Aben, #Murder #Mystery Sharon Marchisello


A short recap of my reviews this month for adult and children’s books.

The first review in September was for children Lulubelle Loves to Bake.

My review for the book September 4th 2021

This is a great sized book for children A4 with big print and beautifully illustrated by the author.

Lulubelle definitely has a sweet tooth and all the recipes are favourite deserts and cookies that children will be immediately drawn to and offer an opportunity for some fun baking sessions in the kitchen with mum or dad.

Some of my personal favourites are Perfect Pumpkin Pie and Zucchini Muffins…although I wouldn’t say no to Kitchen Sink Cookies either.

Each recipe is accompanied by Lulubelle and her friends, suitably attired to complement the particular recipe, and a rhyme for a child to read and learn, featuring the letter of the alphabet featured.

A great idea for a cookbook and perhaps Lulubelle might follow it up with an A-Z of easy savoury dishes that will introduce them to other foods as well as the format is terrific.

Bright, colourful and full of rhymes and recipes adults and children alike will enjoy reading as they prepare and eat the treats. A recommended read.

I also reviewed Marisa’s First Fishing Trip

My review for the book 16th September

This is a delightfully illustrated story that would engage any small child. A perfect book for grandparents to keep on hand to read and it demonstrates the wonderful bond and teaching moments this offers.

Every page is filled with colour, celebrations such as Christmas and the joy of opening gifts, a plane journey and the adventure of spending the day on a lake with your grandpa learning to fish. And the surprises that you manage to hook on the end of your line.

There are plenty of opportunities to expand the story to personalise it for a child which will extend the enjoyment of the book. Recommended.

A selection of other books by Dawn Doig which are available in several languages.

Read the reviews and Buy Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Dawn: Goodreads – Website: Dawn Doig – Twitter: @Shoebears

Dawn donates the sales of the books to the orphanage CAESEDA Centre d’Acceuil et d’Education Specialisee des Enfants Deficients Auditifs Nkolmebanga, Cameroon

The next review is for a book that caught my attention when viewing a series of delightful videos on Youtube about the wonderful pair of labradors who entertain and endear themselves to millions. Olive and Mabel & Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs… by Andrew Cotter

My review for the book 11th September 2021

I have to admit that watching Olive and Mabel on YouTube, with a commentary by their owner Andrew Cotter is a guilty pleasure. One that during the last 18 months in particularly, has offered a wonderful few minutes of escapism away from the world’s woes. When I saw there was a book about these two Internet stars and their versatile sports commentator companion, I leapt at the chance to discover more about their joint backgrounds.

As a dog lover I really appreciated the humourous and accurate summation of a dog’s approach to life, in particular to food, walks, toys and rolling in all things aromatic. General observations aside, it was the difference in the natures of Olive and Mabel that brought them to life especially, in their approaches to adventure.

Of these there are plenty as Andrew Cotter is a dedicated mountain man, not only in his native Scotland that offers some magnificent climbing opportunities across the seasons, but also when commentating abroad in places such as Australia and Japan where challenges presented themselves. Whilst happy to scale the summits alone far from the madding crowd, Andrew clearly considers hours spent in the mountains with Olive and Mabel, up to their hollyhocks in snow his greatest pleasure. If you are considering visiting Scotland for some climbing then you will find this a useful guide.

For anyone who is considering bringing a dog in to their home there is an excellent chapter about making the right decision about breed, temperament and happiness of this important new family member, never more so than during the pandemic when suddenly everyone wanted a puppy or cat. Some without thought to how a return to more normal working hours and routine would impact their pet, accustomed to having a family around them 24/7.

Apart from mountaineering, other adventures include the wonder of beaches, love of water; a labrador’s favoured habitat, assorted accomodations from small cottages to exclusive hotels. Not to mention the navigation of clearly dangerous, and to be avoided floor compositions and unacceptable coverings.

There is also a reminder of other remarkable dogs through time who have proved to be man’s best friend and have followed their masters unquestioningly. These include Andrew Cotter’s family dogs as he grew up, who all had very distinctive characters and have chapters dedicated to them.

The author has done an amazing job in bringing Olive and Mabel from the exulted status of stars of the computer screen into our lives as the two adorable and much loved companions they are. I recommend the book to all dog lovers, and those who seek the wonder of being on top of the world in the mountains.

Read some of the over 2000 reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – More reviews: Goodreads

Watch the videos of Olive and Mabel: YouTube

New book being released on October 7th 2021: Amazon UK

This week my advance review for the latest release by Richard Dee.. a Fantasy YA/Teen Sci-fi adventure – The Syk’m. On pre-order ebook for October 15th at an offer price

My five star review for the book September 18th 2021

This is the first venture into fantasy by Richard Dee but I hope it won’t be his last. As an author he is known for his excellent world building and he has carried that across to The Syk’m, creating a number of different worlds that find themselves overlapping by design and sometimes by accident.

Although there are interesting differences physically between the races, there is also a meeting of minds and emotions that provides for some interesting interactions. There is an enemy intent on taking over the world of the Syk’m that have little intention of stopping their advance there. With connecting corridors to other planets the way lies open for a domination of the universe.

The band of young trainee warriors from Skander have a difficult quest ahead of them, filled with danger, far from family and a peaceful existence now enjoyed by their world. Much will be asked of them and the outcome is far from certain.

The characters are all well-crafted, each bringing something significant to the story. Although a fantasy world, there are parallels to be drawn with our own with power seekers, treachery and corruption. There are also heroes willing to sacrifice their lives to succeed in this mission to save this world and others at risk, and to fight shoulder to shoulder with new allies.

I recommend this to those who enjoy well-written fantasy with excellent characters, great world building and plenty of action.

Head over to buy the Ebook on pre-order for Ocober 15th Ebook at £1.99/$2.99: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1 Facebook:Richard Dee Author

A lovely poetry collection in time for Halloween by poet Annette Rochelle Aben, Son of Booku: More Halloween Haiku.

My review for the collection 25th September 2021

This book has two lovely purposes… The first is a tribute to the author’s sister who has become somewhat of a neighbourhood legend with the amazing Halloween displays she creates each year with photographs showcasing her skills.

Secondly it is a vehicle to demonstrate how Annette Rochelle Aben can turn even a gruesome skeleton or demonic mask into a thing of beauty by the use of her descriptive Haiku.

No mean feat to strike terror in the hearts of her readers whilst delighting them with the humour she employs.

This is a short read but long on great poetry and images. I can recommend as a wonderful gift in print for children in the family to mark this festivity. For adults it will remind them of the joys of adjusting fangs and green slime before heading out to terrify the neighbourhood into giving them treats. Also provide some ideas on how to decorate their own house and garden this coming Halloween.

Head over to buy the collection in print and ebook: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Annette: Goodreads – Blog: Annette Rochelle Aben WordPress – Twitter:@YouAreTheExpert

And the final review for September Going Home.. a family, murder mystery by Sharon Marchisello.

My review for the book 30th September 2021

This is a well written and thought provoking story that combines a care crisis that many of us face with elderly parents who have developed dementia, and the unravelling of the mystery surrounding a murder in a family home.

It is clear the author has experience of the challenge of communicating with someone who has short term memory loss, and brings in a cleverly crafted murder plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

There are flashbacks to the past and events which have a bearing on the present, and the reader is witness to the fallout that revelations result in as the search begins for a viable suspect amongst the outsiders who have access to the family home. It would seem that the authorities have only one suspect in mind, and without the ability to communicate coherently, an elderly woman must rely on her extended family to prove her innocence.

The author does a great job in keeping all the various strands of the plot running smoothly in parallel and brings the story to a satisfactory climax.

I recommend to those who enjoy well written murder mysteries and family sagas.

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

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

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