Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #History Mike Biles, #Romance Ritu Bhathal, #Journal #Memoir Jaye Marie


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

Meet Mike Biles

Mike Biles has lived in Britain all his life and generally loves the place, warts and all. He first learned history on his dad’s knee and went on to study medieval and modern British and European history at university. He was planning on teaching it, but then drifted into a career running his own business. Despite having worked with some of the UK’s most prestigious firms, he is often at his happiest with his nose in a history book, or exploring a historic site where the past is close. Several years ago, Mike began a blog – now an increasingly authoritative website – ‘A Bit About Britain’. He had to write a bit about Britain’s history for the website, and it seemed only sensible to put the material into his two books.

Books by Mike Biles

One of the recent reviews for A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays

The Diesel-Electric Elephant Company 5.0 out of 5 stars Had me spitting out my coffee – and then cursing the author. Highly recommended.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 April 2021

As an englishman I see some of the traditions in this book as utterly sensible, laudable and to be encouraged – while dismissing entirely, of course, those from the “RoB” [The Rest of Britain}. All are described in this volume with the concomitant touch of puzzlement, derision, love, nationalism, outrage and amusement that they deserve. This book – and another by this author – ‘A Bit About Britain’s History’ – ought to be compulsory reading for all of those below the age of “me”. If there’s one thing we do well in England – and, grudgingly, in Britain too – it is to be …peculiar.

Why did I spit my coffee over my lap and my hitherto pristine copy of this book? Well, the author won’t mind a brief “spoiler” when I say that the august figure of Robert Burns is (accurately) referred to as a chap whose brain was generally used as merely a periscope for his willie. If you don’t know what a ‘willie’ is then please, don’t look it up. I could have finished reading the book there and then; the author had earned his meagre royalty.

What made me curse the author? Christmas. Specifically the author’s criminal disregard for the magnificent creature that is the Brussels Sprout. At that point I wanted my money back.

Aside from the Brussels Sprout issue, this is an accurate book, providing sufficient detail but not too much. Beautifully written, well edited and admirably printed by the company that runs this website. I commend this book to the nation. Also to the Commonwealth, the remains of the old Empire, the poor souls in the “rest of the world” and any aliens looking for a great read during their stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure in RAF Woodbridge (the equivalent to ‘Merica’s “Area 51” thingy).

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain – Twitter@bitaboutbritain

Meet Ritu Bhathal

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry.

Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, But I Smile Anyway, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

Books by Ritu Bhathal

One of the recent reviews for Marriage Unarranged

It was such an incredible new experience of a rainbow! I absolutely loved Aashi, Kiran, Bali, Sunny and Arjun’s journey from UK to India and back to UK. I have to say that I’ve been a fan of Bollywood since many years ago and thought I know a lot of Indian culture, traditions but what I didn’t know is that there were quite huge blank spots in my ‘knowledge’ that has been now filled with colours, smells, sounds, feels and taste of FOOD(!!!) of REAL India and Indians living both abroad and in India by talented author Ritu Bhathal and her first book Marriage Unarranged! Thank you, Ritu, for giving me this wonderful experience I so missed.

Clean romcom, amazing story, well developed and colourful characters, lots of humorous momments with giggles, history, culture and traditions. Loved how author merged modern tendencies with still strong traditional Indian culture both influencing younger generation.
I’m so glad knowing that there would be more books to enjoy! Okay, now go and get your copy of this amazing book!!!

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKand : Amazon US- Blog: Ritu Bhathal WordPress Follow Ritu: Goodreads – Twitter: @RituBhathal

Meet Jaye Marie

About Jaye Marie

Jaye Marie came to writing rather late but has always loved books.

She enjoys reading many different genres, so was surprised to discover a passion for writing detective thrillers. Four of them to date, with more to follow.

She also enjoys running a website/blog, Jenanita.com and loves meeting all the wonderful people who drop in to say hello!

Books by Jaye Marie

My review for Apple Blossom 25th February 2021

Receiving the diagnosis of cancer is everyone’s fear. Jaye Marie shares her journey through this frightening experience from the first examination and her treatments at Queen Alexander hospital in Portsmouth with honesty and courage. A journal such as this is so important, not just as a way to document the experiences of those living through this devastating illness, but for those who might be at the start of that journey. Half the battle is the fear associated with the diagnosis, and at times the lack of information available as  the medical professionals are understandably reluctant to commit themselves to a definitive prognosis. Whilst it is frightening, being informed is a key factor in getting through the treatment and remaining positive about the future. Jaye Marie does an excellent job and whilst the book is a short read it is filled with heartfelt inspiration.

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Jaye Marie : Goodreads – Jaye Marie: WordPress Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Reviews – #magicalrealism Sian Turner, #Blogging #Authors Anne R. Allen, #History Mike Biles


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

The first author with a recent review is Sian Turner for her  latest release Sweet Erin

About the book

A book for anyone who has ever been eleven years old.

Erin Fitzwilliam-Beaumont hates her friendless life at secondary school until a mysterious app brings Carys Bowen into her life. The new friends are struggling to face their own demons when a surprise announcement from Carys brings a remarkable new dimension to the girls’ already unconventional friendship.

Will Carys help Erin find the fresh start she desperately needs, and can Erin help Carys restore her crumbling relationship with her father?

One of the recent reviews for the book

East Sussex 5.0 out of 5 stars More than a book about friendship  Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2020

This delightful book is compelling in so many ways: not only do we have a front-row seat to Erin’s life, challenges, and attitudes, we are treated to humorous family anecdotes, an underlying mystery, and well-chosen metaphors. I stayed up late one night to finish it! The story line is unlike any other I’ve read – a wonderful and inventive book!

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

Also by Sian Turner

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

The next author today is Anne R. Allen with a review for her non-fiction guide – The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors

About the book

Book Authority named The Author Blog to the “Best Blogging Books of All Time” in September 2019. It’s a fun, easy-does-it guide to simple, low-tech blogging for authors who want to build a platform, but not let it take over their lives.

An author blog doesn’t have to follow the rules that monetized business blogs do. This book teaches the secrets that made Anne R. Allen a multi-award-winning blogger and one of the top author-bloggers in the industry.

And you’ll learn why having a successful author blog is easier than you think.

Here are some things you’ll learn in this book:

*How an author blog is different–and easier to maintain–than a business blog
*What authors should blog about at different stages of their careers
*Choosing the right blog topics for your genre and audience
*How one type of blogpost can build your platform quickly
*Basic SEO tips that don’t make your eyes glaze over with tech jargon
*How to write headers that will grab the attention of Web surfers
*How to keep your audience by learning the tricks of content writing
*Essential blog and social media etiquette rules
*What happens to your blog when you die?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Barbara Johnson Witcher, author of Heirs Of Abraham4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully helpful!  Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2020

I have always avoided writing a blog but I do know it is an important marketing tool for an author. So I decided to sample Anne’s book. Immediately I bought it and have become a believer. She has taken what seems like a complicated thing and made it doable with easy steps. I’m going to start blogging. If you’re an author you should too.

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

A selection of other books by Anne R. Allen

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Anne on: Goodreads – blog:  Anne R. AllenTwitter: @annerallen

The final author is Mike Biles for his historical guide. A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays.

About the book

High Days and Holidays are special occasions, celebrations, or commemorations. They occur throughout the year, some wanted, some not, some remembered more than others. In days gone by, the passing year was marked by seasonal or religious feast days of one sort or another; in some respects, they still help define our calendar.

A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays explores a baker’s dozen of Britain’s notable occasions and traditions, from New Year onward, the things we associate with them and the stories behind each one. If you’ve ever wondered who Valentine was, where Christmas crackers come from, or thought about the Easter bunny (and who hasn’t?), A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays is for you. And, whilst this book is not just for Christmas, it does include an A-Z of the festive season. A couple of recipes have been thrown in for good measure too, as well as an agenda for your hosting your very own Burns’ Supper. Oh – and at the end is an extensive list of Britain’s Big Days and events that normally form part of Britain’s Year – through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

So, if you’ve ever been baffled as to why some Brits do some of the things they do, or have even questioned why you do them yourself, this little book might help. Occasionally lighthearted, fascinating and useful, once you’ve read it, keep it handy to refer to when needed.

A recent review for the book

mrs d.5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and entertaining read. 5 stars  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 January 2021

A great read about the origins and quirks of the things and events which we know and love in Britain, as well as those which you didn’t know so much about! Definitely worth a read.

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

Also by Mike Biles

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain – Twitter@bitaboutbritain

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Release #History Mike Biles, Reviews -#Family Lisette Brodey, #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #History Joyce Hampton


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is Mike Biles who has written a succinct and entertaining history of Britain that I can highly recommend. He has a new release just in time for Christmas. A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays.

About the book

High Days and Holidays are special occasions, celebrations, or commemorations. They occur throughout the year, some wanted, some not, some remembered more than others. In days gone by, the passing year was marked by seasonal or religious feast days of one sort or another; in some respects, they still help define our calendar.

A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays explores a baker’s dozen of Britain’s notable occasions and traditions, from New Year onward, the things we associate with them and the stories behind each one. If you’ve ever wondered who Valentine was, where Christmas crackers come from, or thought about the Easter bunny (and who hasn’t?), A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays is for you. And, whilst this book is not just for Christmas, it does include an A-Z of the festive season. A couple of recipes have been thrown in for good measure too, as well as an agenda for your hosting your very own Burns’ Supper. Oh – and at the end is an extensive list of Britain’s Big Days and events that normally form part of Britain’s Year – through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

So, if you’ve ever been baffled as to why some Brits do some of the things they do, or have even questioned why you do them yourself, this little book might help. Occasionally lighthearted, fascinating and useful, once you’ve read it, keep it handy to refer to when needed.

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

Also by Mike Biles

A recent recent review for A Bit About Britain

Eduardo Ruggiero5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read from start to finish Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2020

Refreshingly concise, it breaks Britain’s complex and often dramatic history into fascinating chunks, without the unnecessary and let’s face it – often relatively dull detail that so many history books give us. A Bit About Britain’s History gives the reader the opportunity to decide for themselves which periods interest them most (it’s the War of the Roses for me!) and has the power to convert anyone into a history lover.

Hugely engaging and often witty, it’s definitely the sort of book that knowledgeable historians and complete novices can enjoy alike.

I have already given four copies to my English- speaking family members in Brazil, and the others all keep asking me when the Portuguese version will be available!

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain – Twitter@bitaboutbritain

Now for some recent reviews.

The next author is Lisette Brodey who is a recent addition to the  Cafe and Bookstore, with a review for the coming of age novel, The Sum of our Sorrows

About the book

In an idyllic suburb in Northern California, tragedy strikes the Sheppard family when Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is killed in a car accident. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car with her mother and survives without physical injury but remains deeply scarred on the inside.

Dalton tells Lily, his eldest daughter, that she must sacrifice long-awaited college plans and put her life on hold to take care of her sisters. Lily is torn between her devotion to family and an increasing need to find her place in the world — but how can she leave, knowing her family may crumble? Will her presence eventually cause more problems than it resolves?

The Sum of our Sorrows reveals how the aftermath of a family tragedy can precipitate sorrows never imagined. It is a tale of grief, hope, healing, coming-of-age, friendship, and survival. It is also a love story of two broken souls living through pain in search of better days and the renewal of one’s spirit.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write characters as I hear them speak to me. Some of these stories contain non-gratuitous expletives and sexual references. This book also contains some situations that may be triggering to some readers. If this is not to your liking, please don’t read this book. Thank you.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Journey 5.0 out of 5 stars Another 5 Star Story  Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2020

Another five-star tale from Lisette Brodey. I have to admit, I was pretty certain I would like this one when I first read the title. THE SUM OF OUR SORROWS describes the premise of the book perfectly. When the mom of the family is killed in an accident, grief gets hold of the family and seems it will never let go. Adding to that huge sorrow is the dad’s insistence that Lily, the eldest daughter, must take over the household while putting her own dreams on hold indefinitely. I turned the pages wildly, hoping to discover that Lily would find a way to escape this travesty of injustice, hoping—at the very least—that her father would come to his senses. But of course, life isn’t that easy, and therein lies the story. Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster of a read, but rest assured, happiness and romance are out there, all is not lost. The ending satisfies. Kudos, Ms. Brodey. Kudos! ;

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

A selection of books by Lisette Brodey

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Lisette: Goodreads – Website/blog: Lisette Brodey – Twitter: @LisetteBrodey –  Facebook: Lisette.Brodey

The next author today with a recent review for her paranormal novel is Roberta Eaton Cheadle and Through the Nethergate. You will also find books for children by Robbie and her son Michael in the Children’s Cafe.

About the book

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 13, 2020 Jessica Bakkers rated it Five Stars it was amazing

When I started ‘Through the Nethergate’ I thought to myself, “Ooo, a good old fashioned ghost story!” Then suddenly, author Roberta Eaton Cheadle went and changed the rules. Ghosts became semi solid, famous (and infamous) figures from history were involved in socio-political intrigue, and the Big Bad was nothing short of Lucifer himself! I’ve rarely come across a book with such left of centre twists and turns, where the stakes rise and rise until it literally turns into an epic battle between good and evil.

Amidst all that, Cheadle weaves in historical nuggets about characters, places, and events spanning from Roman times right up to the late 1900s. Her history accounts are very well researched, and I found myself learning a lot about historical characters and events that I only had a passing knowledge of.

Somewhat reminding me of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’, ‘Through the Nethergate’ pits the forces of good against the literal forces of evil. There’s a strong message (or two or three) about the state of humanity and its dwindling morals and ethics, but the message doesn’t get in the way of the story. The same goes for an underlying theme of religion; it’s present, but does not come across as pontifical, and just because the author explores religious themes, this is not a pious read; expect horror, gore, and some disturbing moments.

‘Through the Nethergate’ is one heck of a surprising read. The characters are numerous and fleshed out (no pun intended!), the story twists and grows into something epic, the horror is nicely done without being over the top, and the end is deeply satisfying. A solid read I can highly recommend.

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

A selection of other Sir Chocolate stories co-written with Michael Cheadle and other books by Robbie Cheadle

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Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Robbie on : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration –  Twitter: @RobertaEaton17

The next author today with a recent review is Audrey Driscoll for her latest book Tales from the Annexe: seven stories from the Herbert West Series and seven other tales

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.

A recent review for the collection

Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2020

Having read all the author’s Herbert West novels, I was curious about the additional glimpses into that world afforded by this collection of stories. I enjoyed them all, with one of my favorites being “A Visit to Luxor” (I’m partial to the character of Andre, West’s only fully successful effort at resurrection). “One of the Fourteen” is chilling, and The Night Journey of Francis Dexter” is a must-read for Herbert West fans. I thought the weakest of these treatments was “The Nexus,” the introductory story. It isn’t something that grabs the attention and compels the reader to continue. Quarrington didn’t come to life for me. It might have been better placed at the end of the initial seven tales.

Actually, I enjoyed the final seven stories the most. They are great examples of the range of the author’s imagination, and her concluding comments on what inspired these stories was revelatory. She has the ability to work magic into a reality setting, even if the reality takes place in a constructed world (“The Blue Rose,” which reminded me a little bit of LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.”) I had read “The Ice Cream Truck from Hell” on the author’s blog, but I believe it has been reworked a bit and turned out perfect in the suggestiveness of its conclusion. “The Colour of Magic” was excellent, and “The Glamour” was definitely a favorite. The author’s ability to write great descriptive passages continues unabated.

I recommend this collection, even if you aren’t familiar with the Herbert West series. The concluding seven stories certainly make it worth the price of an ebook.

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

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 brings us full circle back to history an another book that I can recommend. The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy  by Joyce Hampton.

About the book

The Huguenots were the most successful refugees to leave their homeland in search of freedom. The book tells of their questioning of the established Catholic faith in France and continues through the rise of Calvinism, the wars of religion, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and the global diaspora of the Huguenots. It examines the national events that shaped their times, and brings to life some of their personal stories of persecution and flight, and how they travelled far and wide to begin new lives with the promise of religious and personal freedom.

The book not only tells their history but informs the reader of the numerous, diverse and ingenious inventions, many of which are still much in evidence in our lives today.
The book focuses mainly on France and the United Kingdom but within its covers can be found a kaleidoscope of information of their worldwide diaspora. Included within its pages are countless, often previously unpublished, Huguenot family histories set against the events they lived through.

The book covers 500 years of history from 1517-2017 and includes many courageous and selfless acts of Huguenot descendants during both world wars and identifies many well-known individuals who have Huguenot ancestry.

There is also information on how to research your Huguenot ancestors. The book has been described as a factual novel as it embraces both dedicated meticulous cross-referenced research with the easy read of a novel. A book with a difference that will suit both academic scholars and those who have very little knowledge of the Huguenots but would like to know more.

My review for the book October 27th 2020

This book is not just about the unique history of the Huguenots, which is compelling, tragic and inspiring, but is also how the legacy of these refugees from religious persecution enriched the lives of millions today around the world.

Covering 500 years this book takes us through the wars, revolts, betrayals and eventual sanctuary found in England and other parts of Europe, as well as the far outposts of the  world in later centuries including South Africa. As refugees they were generally made welcome as the Huguenots brought with them a wealth of artisan skills which were highly regarded in their host countries, a strong moral and work ethic, and a belief in community and its well-being.

The author shares detailed histories of the countries of origin and the host nations.  The Protestant and Catholic conflicts of the middle ages onward were a time of great uncertainty.  Your religion was subject to a change in status on a frequent basis as kings and queens ascended the various European thrones. This included the thrones in Scotland and England during the 15th and 16th centuries.

It was fascinating to learn more about the various artisan skills that the refugees brought with them and re-established in London and some other major cities in England, Scotland and Ireland. The author gives detailed accounts of these such as silk production and spinning, gold and silver work, clocks and watchmaking, architecture and design, furniture making and printing. On the medical front leading doctors and scientists established protocols and advances in obstetrics and the establishment of pharmacies. Over the centuries Huguenot business leaders set in motion commercial ventures that are the origins of the Bank of England and our stock market.

It was interesting to discover that many well known authors, artists and actors that have brought their talent to the arts around the world were of Huguenot ancestry.

As well as the detailed history of the Huguenots as protestants from diverse nationalities, Joyce Hampton also shares the stories of individuals with a background to their reasons for seeking sanctuary, and how they brought great benefits to the adopted countries. These bring a personal element to the book that I much enjoyed, especially as it brought some people and events in my own life to mind. I had not given any thought to the name of my teacher in South Africa for example, but from the book I discovered that Miss Du Plessis was of Huguenot origins.

I can recommend this book to history lovers, genealogists and writers of historical novels as the detail and research is impeccable. For those researching their family trees it is a great reference for identifying possible Huguenot connections over the last 500 years, particularly if you originate from London or other major cities where the refugees settled.

More than anything, I came away from reading the book with a sense of hope. Today we see parallels to the religious persecution of 500 years ago, with millions still fleeing oppression and seeking sanctuary which is often denied. Without the acceptance and integration of Huguenots within our society, many of the advances in science, economics, commerce and the arts would be sadly lacking in our modern world. We need to take on board some of the lessons from the past.

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

Also by Joyce Hampton

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Joyce  : Goodreads – Website:Not Just Another Book Twitter: @NJABOfficial

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews -#FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #History Mike Biles, #PsychologicalThriller Lucinda E. Clarke


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

The first author is Judith Barrow with a review for her compelling family drama and another book that I can recommendThe Memory.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Irene is delighted when she finds out her parents are expecting, and when they bring home a beautiful little girl she falls in love instantly. But she doesn’t understand why her Mum doesn’t feel the same and doesn’t want anything to do with her…… She realises her sister is special, and later finds out that she has Down’s Syndrome. Only strengthening the love she has for, Irene has an unbreakable bond with Rose and will protect her above all else. Until she passes away at the age of 8….and Irene believes there is more to it than she is being told.

Left devastated Irene moves on with her life as best as she can with plenty of ups and downs, and eventually ends up back home caring for her Mum. Having kept a secret since the day Rose died, Irene faces up to what she feels she must do to put things right. Stressed, overwhelmed and tired, the only question is will Irene go ahead with her plans……

The Memory was so moving, it actually had me in tears at one point. Told from Irene’s viewpoint, we experience 24 hours with her as she’s at home caring for her challenging Mum who is suffering with dementia. But at the same time she takes us back through her memories of her childhood and life; when she meets her little sister, the bond they have, her death and the challenges that follow for Irene as an adult.

I was so invested in Irene and honestly felt like I was reading someone’s real life memoirs. Irene loved her sister so much and would have done anything for her. We go through the tragic loss with her and it’s heart breaking. As Irene grows she ends up sacrificing her own desires to care for others, something that constantly seems to happen through her life. When she seems to be able to move on with her life, something else crops up. The poor woman is so selfless, and goes through so much. You can’t help but empathise with her and wish you could give her a massive big hug!

I fell in love with Rose instantly. An adorable little character who’s end I was devastated by. Sam is a real gentleman although I could have given him a bit of a boot a few times! And then we have Irene’s Mum, Lil…….this woman brought out every emotion in me. I was angry with her, disgusted, sad and shocked. She says and does some terrible things, but isn’t always what she seems……And I loved Nanna……

The Memory is a truly emotive and heart wrenching novel covering sisterly bonds, family, secrets, betrayal, loss and ultimate sacrifice. I didn’t want to put it down. Highly recommended by me.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon UK

AndAmazon US

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Judith: Goodreads

Connect to Judith via her blog: Judith Barrow

The next author with a recent review is Mike Biles for his history of Britain that I can also highly recommend.. A Bit About Britain’s History.

About A Bit about Britain’s History: From a long time ago to quite recently.

Could this short, elegant, volume be the only book on British history you’ll ever need?

A Bit About Britain’s History is for anyone who wants a serious, yet light, introduction to Britain’s amazing story. If you don’t know the basics, or would like a reminder, this book is for you. It is also perfect for those that didn’t enjoy history at school, but who have suddenly realised they’d like to understand it a bit better now.

What did the Romans achieve? How did Christianity arrive? Who are the English and why did they fight the French so often? What is Henry VIII’s greatest legacy? When did democracy start and people get the vote? Why on earth did Britain get involved in WW1?

Organised clearly and chronologically, A Bit About Britain’s History covers every period from a long time ago until quite recently. It begins by briefly mentioning that the place was once inhabited by extremely large lizards, and ends up with a post-war 20th century consumer society. Brief articles explain the essential aspects of Britain’s past, including how the ancestors of its current inhabitants arrived, how they fought each other, formed nations, fell out over religion, acquired a large empire, became gradually more democratic, helped win a couple of world wars and were left wondering what to do next. At the end of the book are detailed timelines for each period, which provide useful reference and make fascinating reading in their own right.

A Bit About Britain’s History might be the only book on British history you’ll ever need; or it might be your stepping stone to more in-depth academic reading

One of the recent reviews for the book

Denise G. McGee 5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn more about the history of Britain  Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “A Bit About Britain’s History.” While history has always fascinated me, too many non-fiction books about history tend to be exceedingly dry. This book was very informative and entertaining and didn’t put me to sleep. I’m American, and more than a bit of an Anglophile, so this book was right up my alley. I’ve been following Mike’s blog for several years now, and am delighted that he has a published book. I’m very much looking forward to the second installment!

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

Follow Mike on : Goodreads

Connect to Mike via his blog: Bit About Britain

The final author today is Lucinda E. Clarke with a recent review for her latest release A Year in the Life of Andrea Coe: A Psychological Thriller (In the life of …. Book 2)

About the book

Andrea was Leah’s best friend. A strange attraction between a wild, confident, fun-loving, widow and a quiet, insecure housewife.

But Leah’s gentle and loving nature hide the depths of an underlying iron-hard mental strength. After surviving her vicious husband’s terrifying games and the mental asylum he committed her to, Leah’s only desire now is for a life of peace with her new partner, and her best friend, Andrea. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out. With her husband now on the run from a mob hitman, and his family each hiding their own secrets, they are prepared to go to any lengths to finish what they started three years ago. Will they succeed this time?

Leah knew the only person she could rely on was Andrea.

This is book two in the series and answers all the questions raised in Book 1: A Year In The Life of Leah Brand.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tom 5.0 out of 5 stars Keep your enemies closer …  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 May 2020

A superb sequel to ‘A Year in the Life of Leah Brand’. Yes, this is Andrea’s story but a key component is her best friend, Leah. This tale has been well-constructed to develop and highlight every aspect of Andrea’s life, but it also refreshes readers’ memories about how fragile Leah is psychologically and how she interacts with other people.

In monthly increments, we are introduced to a level of promises, lies, deceit and artificial support normally only found in political election campaigns. Apart from the monthly episodes, the chapters are presented in the point of view of the main individual characters. I believe this increases the depth of the intrigue and suspense rather than diluting it.

The characterisation is produced to the author’s usual high standard, so although the supporting characters do not all have personal chapters they are still well-developed and earn their places in this excellent tale of relationships, need and greed.

There may be readers who would like to see this become a trilogy, which, if the author wished, it could be, but if left as Leah’s year and Andrea’s year, the two books are fine entertainment.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Lucinda E.Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda: Goodreads

Connect to Lucinda via her blog: WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke

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