Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews – #Children Cynthia S. Reyes, #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts


Welcome to the series where I will be sharing a selection of book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

My first review from 2017 is for the beautifully written and illustrated children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes and illustrated by Jo Robinson.

About Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.

My review for Myrtle the PurpleTurtle 2017

Beautifully illustrated children’s book with a lesson for us all.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book, that gently encourages the young to accept that being different should be celebrated. Whether it is the colour of a person’s skin, accent, cultural background, religion or disability, they should never feel excluded and forced to change to fit in. Adapting is a different thing altogether and that comes when two people or groups respect each other’s differences, learn from them and adopt some elements in common. Cynthia Reyes expresses that effectively with the words in this book, complimented perfectly with wonderful illustrations of Myrtle and those she meets along the way by Jo Robinson. I also believe that parents or any adults reading this to a child, will also take on board how important it is for young children to grasp this concept as they enter this multi-cultural world we live in.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US  and: Amazon UK

Also by Cynthia Reyes

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About Cynthia Reyes

Cynthia’s books for adults are about unusual homes, the people who love them, and the life events connected to these places. She has written three such books so far: the bestselling A Good Home, An Honest House, winner of the Diamond Award for Book of the Year (2016), and, released in 2019, Twigs in my Hair – A Gardening Memoir.

Cynthia co-authors the “Myrtle the Purple Turtle” children’s picture books with her daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange. The award-winning series has been praised by parents, teachers, librarians and most of all, the book’s target audience: children.

Cynthia Reyes, Buy: Amazon US – And  : Amazon UK – Follow Cynthia : Goodreads – Website:Cynthia ReyesTwitter: @CynthiaSReyes

The second review from 2017 is for Glimpses.. the first short story collection by Hugh W. Roberts. Another review that seems to have disappeared in the culling by Amazon and off Goodreads so have added again.

About the book

After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who suffers from dyslexia, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book. Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.

‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.

If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh. Here’s what one reader has already said about the book. “If you’re looking for a thoroughly entertaining read, Glimpses is the book for you. Each story has been cleverly crafted; through Hugh’s wonderful imagination, he has the ability to whisk you away to many different worlds, past, present and future.

My Review 2017

Glimpses is an eclectic mix of genres including fantasy, science fiction,ghost, horror and drama. Each story has a twist or two that either make you smile or hide behind the sofa.The serial story, The Truth App, in particular makes you look at your online activities in a new light!

The characters are well drawn, and hopefully not all from experience, as you get a very strong sense of evil from some of them. such as in The Easter Bunny and The Gingerbread House. There are also some very poignant moments in stories about people’s loss of dreams or their desire to recapture happiness such as in the first story Last Train to Aldwych.

Hugh Roberts clearly understands our human frailties and exploits them in a very entertaining way in his stories.. Humour plays its role in many of the stories even in those that explore our darkest thoughts and deeds!  I thoroughly enjoyed my time glimpsing into the lives of the characters and the mind of the author.

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

Also by Hugh W. Roberts

About Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

I’m a passionate blogger and have been blogging since February 2014. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my posts on blogging tips. I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging since I first discovered it. All of the tips and advice I give are free of charge and will cost you nothing apart from, maybe, a little bit of your time.

I have always enjoyed writing, and the fact I suffer from a mild form of dyslexia has not stopped me from enjoying the passion I have for writing.

Now in my fifties, I thought it about time I let my writing become public. Becoming a blogger seemed to be the perfect way for me to do this. Blogging has put me in touch with hundreds of other writers, many of whom have been supportive and helped me with my writing.

I lead a happy life and always try to stay positive. I share my life with John, my wonderful civil partner, and our two Welsh Cardigan Corgis, Toby and Austin.

I write about life because I find it so fascinating. I have many stories to tell, some of which I have started to put into a book. I think my life has been incredible and I want to share it with anyone who wants to listen. I am also an excellent listener, and I love to be interactive with other people. I guess you could say I am a ‘people person’.

You will find some of my short stories and flash fiction on my blog, and I hope you enjoy reading them. Flash Fiction has become a big part of my writing, and I enjoy participating in various writing challenges.

Hugh Roberts, Buy: Amazon UK – And on: Amazon US – Follow :Hugh Roberts Goodreads – BlogHugh’s Views and NewsTwitter: @HughRoberts05

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed these reviews from the past few years…and will enjoy the books for yourselves..thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Thriller John W. Howell – #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts – #ParanormalRomance Linda G. Hill – #Poetry Ritu Bhathal


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

To make it easier for you to buy I will provide the US and UK Amazon Author Pages and Goodreads Page for the author where you will find the featured book and also the others by the author.

The first author is John W. Howell with a stand alone novel – Circumstances of Childhood.. I have read all of John’s book and enjoy his style of writing and this this novel was not exception. They would make great gifts to friends and family.

About Circumstances of Childhood.

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

A recent review for the book.

I truly enjoyed this novel and I hope John W. Howell keeps writing for a very long time. One thing that really impresses me is the care he takes in his writing…his dialogue skills and the way he creates believable but awesome characters (in this case – Greg and Keith Petros). This book hit all the marks for what I love a great story: fast-paced, surprising twists, characters I could root for, characters to hate/despise/feel pity/willing to save, and of course an ending that had me snapping my Kindle shut and thinking – noooo way, I’d like to read more..! If you want a good book that keeps you glued to the page, read this one or better all of the books by this author!

Three last words: exceptional, suspenseful and smart! Go, grab it!

Also by John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US author page

and on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow John: John Howell Goodreads

Connect to John: John W. Howell

The next author enjoying a recent review is Hugh W. Roberts for his second collection of short stories, More Glimpses I have read and can recommend as a great gift for someone who enjoys reading some edgy short stories.. expect the unexpected.

About More Glimpses

Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden? Or know the real truth about what lurks inside every mobile phone? Would you steal items from a blind person, or send your neighbours on a time travelling adventure fraught with danger and menace to save the human race from a bug? How about staying in a sleepy village where many murders have taken place or coming to the aid of royalty while out shopping?

‘More Glimpses’ gives the reader an opportunity to take a peek into the lives of normal, everyday people whose lives are all on a path full of twists, turns and unexpected endings. However, it’s not only about the humans; nothing escapes the extraordinary journeys Hugh has planned for you. If you are a lover of shows such as ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ then you’re in for another exciting trip in this second collection from Hugh. Come and meet the characters who had no idea their lives were about to be turned upside-down. Enjoy the ride!

One of the recent reviews for the collection

After reading Glimpses, Hugh Roberts’ first anthology of short stories, I was enthused to see his second book out for sale. More Glimpses fulfils its title by giving the reader a snapshot view into the lives of the characters colouring the pages, sharing moments of conflict, grandeur and horror before the shutter closes and the next story begins. Some dwell in the macabre; others are downright delightful in their telling. Hugh weaves his storytelling web over these bite-size stories, bringing to life the colourful characters, warts and all. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was lucky enough to receive my copy from the author himself. I look forward to his next anthology as I’m sure it will be just as thrilling as Glimpses and More Glimpses.

Also by Hugh W. Roberts

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Hugh :Hugh Roberts Goodreads

Hugh W. Roberts

Connect to Hugh via his blog: Hugh’s Views and News

A now something for those who enjoy some romance/paranormal in their reading. Linda G. Hill with the most recent review for her book The Magician’s Curse: A Paranormal Romance – The Great Dagmaru Book 1.

About the book

When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.

Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?

Amidst lace and leather, innocence and debauchery, The Magician’s Curse begins the Gothic tale of The Great Dagmaru. Magic and romance await.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 4.0 out of 5 starsAn intriguing read May 13, 2019

Herman has a most unusual name which has been a burden to her all her school life. Why on earth would her parents saddle her with a boy’s name? As this interesting book, filled with magic and mystery progresses, Herman finds out that it is not only her name that is unusual about her, or her parents choice that is unusual about them.

Herman’s mother has been very ill for a long time and her father is never there to offer any support to his family. Herman assumed the role of mother to her younger brother, Chad, when she was very young and now she is breaking free to establish a life for herself. She plans to bring her brother to live with her once she is settled and earning an income. On the train to her new job, Herman meets a riveting young man who introduces himself as Stephen. Much to Herman’s surprise, Stephen professes to be as taken with her as she is with him, so when he asks her to work for him as his assistant she doesn’t put up much of a fight. Fortunately for Herman, Stephen, who is a magician, is genuine in his offer for her to become his assistant and she quickly discovers that there is more to his magic than meets the eye. In fact, Herman soon comes to realise that the household staff and Stephen’s entire lifestyle is fairly unorthodox.

The attraction between Herman and Stephen is incredibly strong but Herman can sense there is something not quite right with their relationship and this causes her to hold back from committing herself completely to him. What is Stephen’s secret and will Herman be able to accept it when she eventually discovers what it is? I did like the fact that the character of Stephen illustrated respect for Herman and gave her the opportunity to make her own choice about his unusual situation.

This book is for adults and, although not graphic, it does contain descriptions of sex and suggestions of sexual freedoms. The romantic aspect of this book is the overriding genre with the supernatural element playing a lessor role.

Also by Linda G. Hill

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Linda on: Goodreads

Connect to Linda via her website: Linda G. Hill

And the final book today is the poetry collection from Ritu Bhathal which has received wonderful review and would make a lovely gift for poetry lovers- Poetry Rituals

About Poetic Rituals.

Delve into a book of verse exploring different topics and different genres, all with a RITUal twist.

A collection of poetry drawing on the experiences of the writer, ranging from matters of the heart, love for the family, situations in life and some verses written with a humorous twist.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

 Read all the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

and other reviews: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Ritu: Goodreads

Connect to Ritu:But I smile anyway

Thank you for dropping in today and there will be more Christmas Book recommendations over the weekend. Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Lorinda J. Taylor, D. Wallace Peach and Hugh W. Roberts


The first author today is Lorinda J. Taylor with her most recent releaseThe Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Five: Phenix Rises: A Biographical Fiction.

About the book

A rehabilitated Robbin Nikalishin is back in the Captain’s chair as the Phenix Project for Interstellar Flight gets underway. After finishing off the loose ends remaining from his unorthodox penalty, the Captain returns to Herinen Space Port, where the first tasks are to complete the construction of two starships, give them names, and select a crew to fly them, including certain participants from the previous interstellar program. The Captain is fully committed to supporting his old friends, even though not all of them have fully recovered from the Darter Disaster. Specifically, Ian Glencrosse remains deeply – and ominously – affected, while Banyat Thaksin, the Engineer who lost his foot in the disaster, embarks on a course that will influence the future history of Earth.Capt. Robbie never loses his sense of humor or his willingness to engage in romantic relationships, finding a comfortable liaison with a earlier acquaintance. However, his disastrous marriage has not been severed. Can it be that the High Feather will resurface, with a new agenda of her own?

One of the reviews for  Phenix Rises on Goodreads

Jun 25, 2019 Audrey Driscoll rated it it was amazing  ·

Returning to this fictional biography was like a reunion with old friends. For the first two-thirds of the book, a rehabilitated Captain Nikalishin prepares to take on his new role as commander of the first ship to visit the stars. He ties up loose ends, moves to a new home, and undertakes a round the world journey to discover which of his old comrades would like to join him in the renewed enterprise. This trip presents opportunities for fleshing out the history of different parts of the world in the centuries preceding the 28th, a dark and violent time in which humanity almost destroyed itself. Already fascinated by the renewed human civilization and its values, I found these background details interesting. The richness of the fictional world in which this story plays out is one of the strengths of this series of novels.

As those in charge of the Phenix Project build a crew for the enterprise and begin intensive training, a worrying issue emerges that casts a shadow I’m sure will play out as Robbie’s life story continues. The book ends with a jolt that absolutely demands resolution. I hope Part Six appears soon!

Note: anyone who hasn’t read Parts One through Four really ought to do that first. The life story of this 28th century hero is absorbing and entertaining, and should be read in chronological order.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1795285648

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1795285648

A small selection of other books by Lorinda J. Taylor

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lorinda-J-Taylor/e/B007AKHZW4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorinda-J.-Taylor/e/B007AKHZW4

Read more reviews and follow Lorinda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5429943.Lorinda_J_Taylor

Connect to Lorinda via her blog: http://termitewriter.blogspot.ie/

The next review is for More Glimpses the recent short story collection by Hugh W. Roberts.

About More Glimpses

Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden? Or know the real truth about what lurks inside every mobile phone? Would you steal items from a blind person, or send your neighbours on a time travelling adventure fraught with danger and menace to save the human race from a bug? How about staying in a sleepy village where many murders have taken place or coming to the aid of royalty while out shopping?

‘More Glimpses’ gives the reader an opportunity to take a peek into the lives of normal, everyday people whose lives are all on a path full of twists, turns and unexpected endings. However, it’s not only about the humans; nothing escapes the extraordinary journeys Hugh has planned for you. If you are a lover of shows such as ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ then you’re in for another exciting trip in this second collection from Hugh. Come and meet the characters who had no idea their lives were about to be turned upside-down. Enjoy the ride!

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Flash fiction and short stories are some of my favorite late night reading. Having read the first book, “Glimpses,” I was thrilled to hear that Hugh Roberts had written a second collection.

What I found between these pages was a wealth of creative and imaginative stories. Roberts is known for his witty endings and his ability to take a mundane event and turn it into something totally unexpected. Some of his stories have a Twilight Zone quality to them that are sure to WOW! Just to be safe, don’t turn out the lights.

A few of my favorites were “The Whistle,” a frightening glance back into time and set in the trenches of WWI. This one tugged at my heart!

“Murder in Evershot,” reads like a Miss Marple suspense from the BBC. The author actually casts himself and family into the plot. Brilliant!

My favorite story was “Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden” (of course). This was the story of Roger, a homophobe who despised his brother in law simply because he was gay. However, the fairies at the bottom of the garden have a surprise in store for Roger. Just goes to show that you should never piss-off the fairies! Never!!

This collection of short stories is the perfect weekend read! Grab your copy today!

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Glimpses-Hugh-W-Roberts-ebook/dp/B07PG4RH89

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/More-Glimpses-Hugh-W-Roberts-ebook/dp/B07PG4RH89

Also by Hugh W. Roberts

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP

Read more reviews and follow Hugh on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16123684.Hugh_W_Roberts

Hugh W. Roberts

Connect to Hugh via his blog: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

The next author with new review is D. Wallace Peach for Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea) Book One.

About the book

When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness. Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul. When his brother reaches out, open wounds begin to scar. But the tenuous peace won’t last. While those who rule the Vales yield to the lure of their ambitions, slavers of Ezar roam the countryside, hunting for human chattel. While one man manipulates the law, another heeds the souls of violence howling in his head. Raze too listens to his soul’s whispers, and as danger intrudes on his quiet life, he has no choice but to return to his father’s world and join the fight.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I was attracted to this book by its unusual title. Soul Swallowers, what could that mean? I was amazed and delighted to discover that its meaning is quite literal and one of the themes of this book is the ability of the people in the author’s beautifully constructed fantasy world to physically swallow the souls of others, friends or foes, and acquire their characteristics, skills and abilities. I enjoyed how the author explored this aspect of the book and illustrated through her characters how the swallowing of souls impacted on the swallower, changing their personality if the soul was a contradiction to their own nature and causing internal turmoil. If the soul was a good fit, the swallower would benefit hugely from this process and the two souls would eventually meld and become completely harmonious. I found this concept unique and compelling.

The author has created a world in conflict and explores the possibilities for good and evil when one culture is consumed by another. Ideas and cultural policies that work well with a conqueror in this case the Ezar, are often badly transposed and their implementation manipulated for personal gain by the representatives of the conquerors and by the leaders of the conquered, who want to retain their positions of power under the new regime. The concept of slavery depicted in the Soul Swallowers and how its initial implementation by the Ezar is twisted in the Vales to the advantage of ruthless and unruly slavers clearly demonstrates this abuse of power. The uncaring attitude of the Vale leadership highlights the distrustful and back stabbing environment that emerges in such situations. As with other brilliant works of fantasy that draw analogies with real life happenings, the influences of Tolkien’s experiences in World War 1 and their influence on his series Lord of the Rings come to mind, the author has done an excellent job of creating a world which shares interesting ideas and thoughts on problems and issue that we are currently facing with integrating cultures in our current global world.

The main character, Raze Anvrell, is the son of one of the Vale leaders who rails against his father’s wishes for him to marry the daughter of a neighbouring Vale leader and bring about an alliance of their two families. When Raze discloses that he is already married, which results in the murder of his young wife, he turns his back on his family and disappears, building himself a life on a rural farm in the Vales. The growth of Raze’s character is intriguing to experience as he goes from being a bereaved, but rather spoiled young man, to developing into a kind and compassionate man who cares for the welfare of others. Raze’s path leads him to discover that you cannot always walk away from a bad system and sometimes you have to take a stand against it.

A fascinating and well written book and one I would recommend to readers of fantasy.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Swallowers-Shattered-Sea-Book-ebook/dp/B07DKV4FGJ/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Soul-Swallowers-Shattered-Sea-Book-ebook/dp/B07DKV4FGJ/

A selection of  books by D.Wallace Peach

Read the reviews for buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Read more reviews and follow Diana on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

Connect to Diana via her blog: http://www.mythsofthemirror.com

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