Smorgasbord Book Reviews Recap – November 2021 – #Mystery Joan Hall, #Western Sandra Cox, #Children’s Toni Pike, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, History Patricia Furstenberg, #Poetry Colleen Chesebro, #Anthology Allan Hudson and Other Authors


Welcome to the recap of my book reviews in November and the first is for Joan Hall for her psychological mystery short story. House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira

My review for the book November 1st 2021

I have read great reviews for this prequel to The Legends of Madeira series, and I was certainly not disappointed. Great characters, descriptive writing and a sustained air of mystery throughout the story.

Set in the 1960s, and the town of Madeira, we are introduced to Ruth who has lived in one of the few remaining Victorian homes in the street for most of her married life. Following the death of her husband, a former police chief, Ruth is under pressure from family to move into assisted living.

She reflects on her life in the house and town since the 1960s and we discover more about her background, marriage and the major events of the decade that impacted the nation and the world with both sorrow and jubilation

Ruth had loved the house and lavished time and effort to bring both the interior and the porch back to its former glory. A favourite in the neighbourhood with neighbours and their children she becomes a much loved part of the community.

Over the years there are veiled hints about the house and its previous owners. Ruth brushes them aside as superstition, and the active imagination of Sam a close neighbour and friend. Until suddenly one day it all becomes very real.

Now in old age and alone, she carries a burden. Whoever lives in the house next must be warned.

This book is a great way to introduce the town of Madeira and importantly the house, opening the door to the first book in the series which I am looking forward to reading.

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

Other books by Joan Hall

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Joan: Goodreads – Website: Joan Hall – Blog: Joan HallBookBub: Joan Hall – Facebook: Joan Hall Writes – Twitter: @JoanHallWrites

My next review is for Sandra Cox for the western romance another wonderful read, Tumblestar

My review for the book November 6th 2021

What can I say… Sandra Cox always succeeds in sweeping her readers away to the plains and towns of the West. Her characters are so engaging and even those who smell like rotten buffalo hides are drawn in great detail.

There is danger, adventure and of course romance with some heart stopping moments when it seems all will be lost… heroes and villains vie for attention, as do the magnificent wild horses that roam the prairies.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know rancher Coop Malloy, his multi-tasking cook, the lovely Randa and Coop’s niece Kalli and those who find themselves welcomed into their warm kindness.

Apart from the danger and heart stopping moments it is also a feel good read that you won’t be able to put down.

Highly recommended for western and romance fans.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAmazon UK

A small selection of Sandra’s books

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon UK –And: Amazon US- follow Sandra Cox: Goodreads – Blog: Sandra Cox Blogspot – Twitter:@Sandra_Cox

With Christmas in a few weeks I thought I might check out more children’s books and delighted to share my review for Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike.

My review for the book November 11th 2021

The book does begin on a sad note with the death of Brody’s mother in an accident when he was a baby. However, he and his dad have become very close and lead a rather relaxed lifestyle with a flexible approach to nutrition and after school activities. Brody loves his father completely and their close relationship. He is therefore very put out when a whirlwind romance ends up with a new stepmother, a famous children’s author, who has different ideas about both suitable breakfasts and homework.

His friend Kyle becomes convinced that a UFO has landed, and it is rather coincidental that Brody’s stepmother, who seems a little too perfect, arrived on the scene at the same time.

We follow Brody and his friends as they investigate how his stepmother seems to have special powers of persuasion, and why despite their misgivings, they seem to be falling under her spell.

Many children are faced with loss of a parent or a split in their parent’s relationship which leads to a stepmother or stepfather trying to find a way to integrate into an established family unit. This story highlights this with a humourous tale involving overactive imaginations and a need on both sides of the dilemma to find common ground and acceptance.

Apart from an entertaining read, I think younger children who are experiencing this change in dynamics within their family would find it very helpful as they make adjustments in their lives. Also the adults who are attempting to win hearts and minds as newcomers into a new home.

The story is relevant in today’s society, the characters are all delightful and I can highly recommend.

Head over to buy the book: USAUKAustralia Canada

Also by Toni Pike for children and adults

Connect to Toni: Buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1

My next review was for the poetry collection,that is both poignant and thought provoking.  Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance -Elizabeth Gauffreau

My review for the collection 13th November 2021.

As we get older we lose more of those we love, and grief is one of the hardest of life’s experiences to comes to term with. Brief eulogies that express love and respect for a person are often more meaningful than longer testaments to their life.

This is the case in Elizabeth Gauffreau’s collection of syllabic poetry. Brief glimpses into the lives of her parents as they met and married, followed by early childhood memories and the teen years.

The wonderful early family images set the scene and the words bring them to life. They are emotionally engaging and evoke the reader’s own memories and also regrets for lost opportunities to share more moments with those no longer with us. For example:

27 Edgewood Road

clearing out the house
entering forbidden rooms
hidden photographs
baby picture never seen
her pride in me now showing.

A collection for reflection and enjoyment.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection:
Amazon US And : Amazon UK

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Twitter: @LGauffreau

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

My review for the book November 20th 2021

What an amazing way to learn history, particularly of a country that has such a rich and tempestuous story to tell.

The author has written 100 word fiction for each entry dating back to paleolithic times with the historical background to the story following. The stories tell of a country that is tempting to invaders, inhabited by resilient and proud people, who have survived extraordinary periods of occupation by Romans and successive marauders from neigbouring kingdoms many times over the centuries.

Transylvania is showcased in wonderful photographs, either of the breathtaking scenery or surviving historical structures of monuments. It is clear that Patricial Furstenberg has a deep knowledge of the country and its history and a love and respect for it too.

She offers a guided tour through the ages using fiction and fact creatively and compiled with great skill.

Not only do I have a greater understanding of the history of Transylvania but it has encouraged me to explore it further. Recommended

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

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

More delightful poetry in a multi-author anthology – Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse – The Moons of Autumn. – Colleen Chesebro, Jules Paige and other Poets

About the collection

Word Weaving is a yearly poetry journal, and for our first issue, we bring you poetry crafted from a broad mix of new and established voices across the spectrum of Japanese and American syllabic poetry forms. Enjoy this collection of poems that celebrate the Moons of Autumn.

Contributing Poets:

Annette Rochelle Aben, Mona Bedi, Nancy Brady, Colleen M. Chesebro, Goutam Dutta, Bill Engleson, Elizabeth F., Andrea Finichiu, D.L. Finn, Jeff Flesch, Ken Gierke, Franci Hoffman, Thom Kerr, Sujata Khanna, Ruth Klein, Jules Paige, D. Wallace Peach, Gwen M. Plano, M. J. Mallon, R.V. Mitchell, Elaine Patricia Morris, Lisa Smith Nelson, Pat Raffington, Susmita Ramani, Kerfe Roig, Aishwarya Saby, Akhila Siva, Merril D. Smith, Willow Willers, Cheryl Wood.

My review for the Journal 25th November 2021

This is an excellent example of how a collaboration between writers can result in a wonderful collection of thought provoking and heartwarming poetry.

Syllabic poetry is a broad term for the formats such as Haiku, Rnga, Tanka, Haibun, Gogyohka, Cinaquain, Etheree and other Japanese verse. There are examples of many of these forms from the contributing poets in tribute to the autumn moon, and all stand out as poignant, witty and memorable.

Very tough to highlight favourites but here is a small taste which I hope will encourage you to read the collection in full. Apart from a wonderful 18 stanza Renga by the poets spearheading this collection, Colleen M. Chesebro and Jules Paige, here are two other examples of the quality of the poetry offered.

D. Wallace Peach

moonlight stitches lace
frosty hems on scarlet leaves
glints of fallen stars

Gwen M. Plano

the empress rises
summer and winter curtsy
nature holds its breath
while the symphony begins
fireflies dance in the moonlight

A lovely collection to dip into.

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And:Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor blog: Colleen Chesebro Twitter: @ColleenChesebro

This is my review for the seasonal collection of short stories featuring nine authors and their stories. Autumn Paths: An Anthology.

About the Anthology

Nine writers from both sides of the Atlantic, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have created this miscellany of stories.

These tales of family, mystery, intrigue, adventure, and suspense will take you across continents, through time and space in this world and others. With a linking theme of autumn, discover new landscapes, encounter new and intriguing characters, uncover secrets and lies, and witness the resolution of old enmities.

Take the first step on this roller-coaster of an emotional journey, and you won’t be disappointed.

My review for the anthology November 26th 2021

I enjoyed them all and if I was to mention just one or two to highlight it would be Winter Tar by Jeremy Thomas Gilmer – a glimpse into an Ireland in a post-apocalyptic world of the return of the Viking raids. And The Path to Redemption by Pierre C. Arseneault
which will strike a chord for anyone who returns home out of necessity when all they wish to do is leave their past behind.
If you are looking for a well-written multi-genre collection to enjoy then I have no hesitation in recommending.

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Reviews: Goodreads

To read more about the contributing authors.. here is the link to my full review: Authumn Anthology

 

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.
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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?
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A vicious enemy returns, displaying unexpected strength.
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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.