Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author update #Reviews – M.J. Mallon, Mary Adler, Jacquie Biggar and Deborah Jay.


Welcome to the first of the Cafe Updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

New Feature

At the end of the post I will share any offers that the authors on the shelves have on their books. If you can let me know a week in advance that would  be great so I can include in one of the updates.

On with the recent reviews…..

The first author with a review to share is Marjorie Mallon for The Curse of Time : Book One – Bloodstone a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Kevin Cooper 5.0 out of 5 stars   Magical 30 August 2019

This is a wonderful YA fantasy read. It’s very different from others I’ve read and I say this in the most positive manner. One way or is unique is through the use of original short poetry at the beginning of each chapter providing a clue to the chapter content. It is very well done. I do love originality.

The whole work has a magical feel about it which draws the reader in with a yearning to learn more about all of the characters and their plight.

My favourite characters are, Esme… The girl trapped in the mirror, and Shadow, the black cat. These two characters alone were enough to keep me rooted.

Meanwhile, on the serious side of things, there are so many issues going on in this work in addition to that of dealing with a dysfunctional family. One’s familiarity will be tested and emotions may arise. That aside, when you add magic, a black cat, and a

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074CDJPY9

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website: https://mjmallon.com/

The next author with a recent review is Mary Adler for her wartime mystery Shadowed by Death An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2. A young Polish freedom fighter is in danger and Oliver Wright must try to protect her..

About Shadowed by Death

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger.

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Sep 02, 2019 William Stuart rated it it was amazing

I’m trying to expand my reading preferences, and I found Shadowed by Death (An Oliver Wright World War II Mystery #2) by M. A. Adler. I’m usually not any kind of historical fiction reader, but I liked the blurb. Read on for my thoughts!

What I liked:
World War II novels are sometimes difficult reads, especially when the story deals with horrific events like the Warsaw ghetto. M. A. Adler did an excellent job of working the events into the story and using it to explain Sophia’s motivations. Sophia and Oliver are great characters, but my favorites are Harley and Blue! I also appreciated the research work into the blind eye turned by the world to Russia’s atrocities.

What I didn’t like:
There wasn’t much to dislike about the book. If I had to pick something, there were a couple of slow spots. Other than that, no complaints from me

Overall impression:
Shadowed by Death was an enjoyable read despite the background subject matter. Good characters, intriguing plot, plenty of twists and turns, and a satisfying conclusion kept me involved and interested. If you like historical mysteries, read this one!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F2V369K

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowed-Death-Oliver-Wright-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07F2V369K

Also by Mary Adler

Buy both books from Mary’s author page US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7829648.M_A_Adler

Connect to Mary via her website: https://maryadlerwrites.com/

The next author today with a recent review for Tempted by Mr. Wrong is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.

About the book

How can something so wrong, feel so right?

Falling for her step-brother is a mistake T.J. doesn’t want to repeat, but one look into those sapphire blue eyes and she’s ready to give Jason whatever he wants.

Tammy-Jo Hawthorne’s marriage was floundering, but she never expected her husband to make her the laughing stock of Magnolia.
And she definitely didn’t expect to trip over him in their front yard after he’d been murdered.

Jason McIntyre was forced out of his home and the love of his life by the man who’d haunted his nightmares for ten long years.
Now Jason’s back–and he wants revenge.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, women’s fiction.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tempted by Mr Wrong is another exciting book by Jacquie Biggar. Tammy Joe’s marriage to her father’s partner is in trouble and she ends up walking home from the local country club when he has her car towed away. Who should come to her rescue but her step brother, Jason, who broke off their relationship and disappeared ten years ago. Unbeknownst to TJ, Jason’s actions were at the instance of her over-protective father, against whom Jason has borne a grudge ever since.

Jason picks up TJ walking home in the rain and gives her a lift home from the country club. He happens to still be in the vicinity when she trips over her dead husband in the back yard.

Naturally, as the humiliated wife, TJ is the prime suspect in her husband’s murder and Jason becomes involved to help her out and keep her safe. The attraction that the two shared is still disturbingly real and it creates confusion for both of them, especially as Jason’s presence in Magnolia is not as innocent as he has made out to his mother and step sister. He is living a lie.

Jason soon starts to discover that things are not entirely as they seem with his step father, who he has hated consistently for years, and his mother, who is suffering from dementia.

There is a bit more sex in this book than in previous books by this author that I have read, but it works and is tastefully written. The book has a dual focus with one being the rediscovery by TJ and Jason of their strong feelings towards each other and the other being the murder of TJ’s husband and her father’s business involvement with him.

This book is a fast past murder mystery with an intense romantic sub-story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072V2G8H2

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tempted-Mr-Wrong-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B072V2G8H2

A selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series by Deborah Jay is on offer at 99p/99c from today until 16th of September.

About The Prince’s Man

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

A recent review for The Prince’s Man on Goodreads

Apr 09, 2019 A.C. Flory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading ‘The Prince’s Man’, but the reality blew me away. The story is a grown up fantasy reminiscent of Robin Hobb’s Farseer series [which I also happen to love]. You’ll find Machiavellian politics, intrigue, loyalty, a hint of love, and a cast of characters you can relate to. Yes, they have their flaws, but don’t we all?

To my mind, watching the characters change and grow is at least half the fun. The other half is getting to know the world in which those characters live. In all types of speculative fiction, the world is as much of a ‘character’ as the characters themselves. Think how important the planet Arrakis is to the story of Dune.

As readers we want to step out of our everyday lives and get lost in another world. And the author does not disappoint. The otherness of The Prince’s Man is evident right from the start, but there are no boring info. dumps. We learn about the world in the same way we learn about the human characters, by watching the story unfold, a bit at a time.

And finally, I’d like to say something about the plot. It. Is. Not. Predictable. To me, that’s one of the book’s greatest strengths. I like to be surprised, and nothing puts me off more than ‘the same old same old’. In The Prince’s Man, the author kept me guessing right to the end.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book of the series, and I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes a story with real meat on its bones

Read all the reviews and buy the book 99c until 16th September: https://www.amazon.com/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

and Amazon UK 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

A selection of other books by Deborah Jay

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

Read more reviews and follow Deborah on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Connect with Deborah via her website: http://deborahjayauthor.com

Thank you for dropping in today, please do not forget  to let me know if one of the books on in the Cafe and Bookstore is on offer, and I hope you are leaving with some books under your arm.

 

Advertisements

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jacquie Biggar, C.S. Boyack, Mae Clair


Welcome to the first of this week’s author updates with recent reviews for books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore..

The first author today with a recent review for Tempted by Mr. Wrong is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.

About the book

How can something so wrong, feel so right?

Falling for her step-brother is a mistake T.J. doesn’t want to repeat, but one look into those sapphire blue eyes and she’s ready to give Jason whatever he wants.

Tammy-Jo Hawthorne’s marriage was floundering, but she never expected her husband to make her the laughing stock of Magnolia.
And she definitely didn’t expect to trip over him in their front yard after he’d been murdered.

Jason McIntyre was forced out of his home and the love of his life by the man who’d haunted his nightmares for ten long years.
Now Jason’s back–and he wants revenge.

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, women’s fiction.

One of the recent reviews on Goodreads

Jul 12, 2019 James rated it Five Stars

Tempted by Mr. Wrong, a novel published in 2017 by Jacquie Biggar, is the first romantic suspense book I’ve read in a very long time. I previously read another novel in a different genre by this author but wanted to sample something at opposite end of the spectrum [of a normal read for me] this week. I love suspense but the romance stuff is fairly new to me. In the end, it was quite a winner. Let’s dive into the review…

Tammy-Jo, better known as TJ, has a bad track record with men. She had a bit of an illicit affair with a stepbrother, Jason, in her late teens (parents had only just married) but her father chased him away, causing a family drama that wouldn’t end for years. TJ married another guy to help out her father, as they went into business together… but what type of business was it exactly? We don’t know in the beginning, yet something seems foul as the husband ends up dead. We know it’s bad when TJ looks guilty and someone attacks her to collect missing evidence. As Jason helps protect his stepsister, almost ruin his own career, and stops her father from interfering again, he realizes he still loves her. But how does she feel about the man who hurt her all those years ago?

From the get go, readers know this isn’t just a sappy love story; no offense intended to readers who want that… I only mean… this has a whole lot more going on. Murder. Stalking. Revenge. Power struggles. All the typical suspense and mystery elements which kept me highly intrigued. TJ is a complex woman. At first, she seemed spoiled, but as you got to know her, she was heartbroken. Her father is controlling. Her stepmother is developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Her husband was a jerk. Jason is all she has left, and it’s been a decade since she saw him. Right there… the hook to want her to win. I fell, and I think most readers will too. She’s multifaceted and grows on you quickly.

Biggar developed the suspense quite well. I was all set to cast the villain, and in the end, it’s more open-ended until a final decision is made. Who exactly started all the trouble years ago? It may not be what you think it is… and that’s why I really enjoyed this book. It had so much of what I usually love to see in my reads, plus some extra. There’s one lengthy and detailed romance scene between two characters, which of course is super sexy and physical and all that fun stuff. Sometimes I closed one eye and skimmed (to kinda get the picture) and others I invested in the details. I think I feel like a voyeur when I read those scenes, so I revert back to a 15-year-old boy and giggle. But that’s just me, as I can definitely say they are written very well. There was heat, lust, attraction, and intimacy — all in a good way!

The dramatic opening scene really sets the tone, and from there, it keeps you glued to the pages. I think I devoured it in about 2 hours one afternoon. Having finished two novels by this author, I can safely say she crafts a superb story, writes with easy yet intelligent fluidity, and knows how to capture her audience. I’ll definitely be reading more from her, and perhaps I’ll learn to love the love scenes one day too! :

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072V2G8H2

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tempted-Mr-Wrong-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B072V2G8H2

A selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

Now a recent review for  Sci-fi/Fantasy lovers…the novella The Hat by C.S. Boyack.

About The Hat

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

One of the recent reviews for The Hat on Goodreads

Jul 17, 2019 D. Peach rated it Five Stars

In this short read, Boyack has teamed up Lizzie, a young woman with two part-time jobs, and a talking hat that she stole/inherited from her grandmother’s estate. Yes, you heard that right—a talking hat. At first, she’s rather suspicious and freaked out by the hat, but when a friend’s newborn is stolen as part of a larger baby-napping ring, Lizzie and the hat set out to rescue the infants.What ensues is pretty entertaining. The banter between Lizzie and the hat is exceptionally witty, particularly as the hat navigates advances in technology (it’s been in a box for a long time). The duo reminded me of wise-cracking detective team with snappy dialog and lots of attitude on both sides.

This book can be polished off in a couple of hours and is well worth the time. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078YYCNSF/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF/

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Connect with Craig via his blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

The final book today with a recet review is, Cusp of Night ( Hode’s Hill Series) by Mae Clair.

About Cusp of Night

The truth hides in dark places . . .

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jun 07, 2019 M.L. Rigdon rated it Five Stars

Wonderfully spooky. What I liked most about this story and Mae Claire’s writing is her compassion for monsters. Atmospheric, well-paced and peopled with defined personalities.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/

Read more reviews and follow Mae on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468716.Mae_Clair

Connect to Mae via her blog: https://maeclair.net/blog/

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Laura M. Baird, Rachele Baker DVM, and Jacquie Biggar.


Welcome to the first of the author updates for the week where I share recent reviews for books on the shelves of the cafe and bookstore.

The first author with a recent review is Laura M. Baird for her March 2019 release Sights on Her (Shifter Clans Book Two)

About the book

Hawk shifter, Brennon Underhill is on a mission to shut down rogue labs and take down those responsible for experimenting with humans and shifters. A startling connection ignites within him after one look at Mikki, the only survivor of horrific deeds, and he knows he’ll do anything to save her and make her his.

One moment Mikki Babineaux is celebrating with friends, the next she realizes she’s been kidnapped and put through torture. Her savior comes in the hulking form of a gorgeous stranger named Brennon who sparks decadent desires. But learning he’s a shifter, and she may now be one as well, throws her world into a tailspin.

Can they rise above the chaos to find love and balance with one another?

A recent review for the book

This was a really great Shifter story. First of all, it avoided the “magical hunk/hottie” troupe. The main Male protagonist, Brennon, 🤤🤤🤤, is a Native and a hawk shifter. He and his friend, Max, a wolf shifter (not a werewolf) , are sent on a mission to find out what experiments a mad scientist is up to. They find a lab and within it, a beautiful African American woman is being held against her will. From the moment Mikki’s eyes meet Brennon’s, he knows that he can’t live without her. She feels the same way but can’t figure out why🤔🤔🤔… The attraction is there but that’s not the only thing the story has to offer.

Featuring a strong plot within a short story, we followed a strong woman as she journeyed to find out exactly what happened to her at that lab, with love of her life at her side. Brennon and Mikki’s romance moves quickly, fueled by her newfound senses and his heavily bridled (he doesn’t want to scare her) passion. If you’ve read the first book, In His Sights, then they’ll be some delightful ‘closure’ elements that you’ll be sure to enjoy. An overall good read, I loved that science ruled so much of it and not magic. The only draw backs for this book are that there is ‘language’ through out (but not gratuitously so) and 3 love scenes. If you just enjoy romance and not love scenes, (like us), the author was kind enough to place them all towards end so they are easily skippable without missing key parts of the story.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PYV9LG7

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sights-Her-Shifter-Clans-Book-ebook/dp/B07PYV9LG7

A selection of other books by Laura M. Baird

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Laura-M.-Baird/e/B0745JY9CF

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laura-M.-Baird/e/B0745JY9CF

Read more reviews and follow Laura on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17049270.Laura_M_Baird

Connect to Laura via her website: https://www.laurambairdauthor.com/

The next book with a recent review is Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy by Rachele Baker, DVM. Our pet’s health is as important as our own.

About Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy

Did you know? That if you feed large breed puppies diets other than those formulated and labeled specifically for “Large Breed” puppies that they can develop bone and joint problems? Learn more in Chapter 1: The Best Nutrition For Dogs and Puppies.

Do you know the proper way to clean your dog’s ears? Keeping your dog’s ears clean can help to prevent recurrent ear infections. Chapter 6: Keeping Your Dog’s Ears Clean walks you through the steps to properly clean your dog’s ears and gives recommendations for high quality ear cleaners for dogs.

Buyer Beware. The term “Holistic” on dog food labels is not legally defined or regulated by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). Read more in Chapter 1.

Does your dog constantly pull on the leash on walks? You will appreciate the tips in Chapter 2 – Part 2: Fun Exercise Options For Your Dog.

Do you know how to determine if your dog is overweight?  Learn more in Chapter 2 – Part 1: Keeping Your Dog At A Healthy Weight.

Even people who have had dogs for years will be sure to learn something new in this fabulous book by veterinarian Dr. Rachele Baker. Get yours today!

One of the recent reviews for the book

New dog owner? This book, written by a veterinarian, will help you get off to a good start quickly. Does not cover much about dog training, but most dog training books don’t cover feeding, shots, and other parts of dog care. So if this is your first dog, you probably need two books, one about care, and one about training.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Rachele Baker, DVM on Goodreads

Connect to Rachele via her website: http://rachelebaker.com

The final recent review today is for Skating on Thin Ice by USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.

About Skating on Thin Ice

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mac Wanowski is the perfect hero, an imperfect man who rises above his grief to win the day and more importantly the heroine’s heart. Mac and Sam’s easy banter and complicated pasts kept me hoping they’d find their happily-ever-after but also worried they might not. Skating on Thin Ice has everything a reader could hope for and more. I loved the fast-paced action, high-stakes intrigue, and the vividly described settings of a big-league hockey rink and a remote mountain home made even more secluded and inaccessible by snowstorms.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LGHB5D5

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skating-Thin-Ice-Warhawks-Book-ebook/dp/B07LGHB5D5

A selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you are leaving with some books under your arm… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Camping Woes by Jacquie Biggar


Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Welcome to the first of the posts from the archives of USA Today bestselling author Jacquie Biggar. I have delved deep for the first post as it was in May 2014 and since The Victoria Day long weekend is going to be coming up again soon… I am sure you will enjoy Jacquie’s Camping Woes…

Image Pixabay.com

Camping Woes by Jacquie Biggar

In Canada, it’s the Victoria Day long weekend. It’s finally time to get your planting done.

It’s the first weekend of summer, so camping is a must for many families. On our very first camping trip, we’d bought ourselves a supposedly idiot proof tent and headed to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Jasper, Alberta.

First off, I’m scared to death of bears, so why I thought I could stay in a tent, IN THE WOODS, I’ll never know.

We get to the campsite around lunchtime, and thinking the tent would take an hour at the most, decide to have lunch and do a little exploring first. If you ever get the opportunity, go see the Athabasca Falls, beautiful.

But I digress. Arriving back at camp around three, we proceed to open the box holding the tent. There were an awful lot of pieces in that box. No problem, my DH says, we can do it.

There were problems, many problems. Soon steam was rising from both our ears as ‘a’ wouldn’t quite fit into ‘b’ the way it was supposed to. So I must have read the directions wrong, right? He wasn’t listening to my clear directions, correct?

Some kind neighbouring campers, overhearing our bickering as dusk fell, took pity on us and came over. They put the tent together in two minutes flat. We must have been close,

When it turns dark in the mountains, it’s really dark. There were No street lights, why were there no lights? The tent had No solid walls to protect us from whatever was rustling those bushes at the edge of the campsite.

Then I had to use the washroom. Everything, EVERYTHING, throws a shadow when you’re using a flashlight. I swear to God, my life flashed before my eyes so many times on that trip to the outhouse, I grew a head of grey hairs.

Back in the tent, I tossed, I turned. Hubby snored. I froze, I’d never been so cold in my life.

Tenting was not all it was cracked up to be. I slept in the car. With the doors locked.

IMG_1389

This is more my speed, 🙂

How about you? Any camping trips you’d like to share?

©Jacquie Biggar 2014

A selection of  books by Jacquie Biggar

One of the recent reviews for Skating on Thin Ice.

This book is the perfect mixture of romance with an action packed story line to keep you turning the pages. The author does a great job of drawing the reader into the world of ice hockey and the murky world of match fixing and deals with the mob. Mac Wanowski is a champion ice hockey player and, with him on board, his team looks set to win the season. This does not suit everyone and Mac is seriously injured while playing in a match two weeks before the final. He is sent away to a remote cabin in the mountains to heal. The team’s doctor delivers his niece, Sam, a physical therapist who desperately needs a break, to assist Mac with a speedy recovery. Little does he know that she has been offered the opportunity to obtain a contract as the physical therapist to Mac’s team but, in return, she must slow down his recovery.

When Sam meets Mac her soft heart quickly goes out to him, especially when she learns of the loss of his wife and unborn baby in a terrible accident a few years previously. Sam is also attracted to the taciturn hockey star and she can sense it is reciprocated. Sam makes a decision to try to help Mac and ensure that he is able to play in the final match of the season but she is unaware that there are other, much more dangerous people lurking, who are determined to keep Mac off the ice.

I enjoyed the character of smolderingly sexy Mac, with his heartbreaking past, and the sweet and big hearted, Sam, with her history of financial anxiety and determination to succeed in a male dominated profession.

An entertaining and easy read with a great twist at the end and lots of romantic ups and downs to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

About Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar is a USA TODAY bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want. That is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has also contributed to several successful anthologies.

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site: http://jacqbiggar.com

Connect to Jacquie Biggar

http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar
http://Facebook.com/jacquiebiggar
Facebook Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1051448161572521/
http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar
http://Pinterest.com/jacqbiggar
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jacquie-biggar
Newsletter- https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h6c2n8

My thanks to Jacquie for granting me access to her archives… I hope you will head over to her blog and have a browse yourselves.. More posts from from Jacquie next Monday.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Mary Adler and Jacquie Biggar


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

The first author with a recent review is Mary Adler for her wartime mystery Shadowed by Death An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2. A young Polish freedom fighter is in danger and Oliver Wright must try to protect her..

About Shadowed by Death

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger.

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.

A recent review for the book

It is 1944, World War II is still raging in the Pacific and in Europe, and Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the U.S. Marine Corps, is back in the city of Point Richmond in the East Bay region of San Francisco along with his German shepherd, Harley.

And things are about to get complicated. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish Jew in the United States to raise money for thousands of Jewish children scattered all over war-torn Europe and to mobilize support for a “Free Poland” after the war ends, is on somebody’s liquidation list.

The Nazis? The Russians? Polish Communists?

When she is almost run down by an assassin in a car, homicide detective Oliver is tasked with protecting her. It’s not an easy job. He is still hobbled from a leg wound he suffered fighting the Japanese in Guam and Sophia is a willful woman who refuses to be protected.
To make matters worse, she insists on revealing things that the FBI (and others) would rather keep secret, such as what really happened in Poland’s Katyn Forest when the Russians massacred some four thousand unarmed Polish soldiers—including Sophia’s brother—and blamed it on the Germans.

Sophia knows too much and she is saying things publicly that is proving embarrassing for a variety of people. In that respect, the book is true to the time. During World War II a lot of secrets were buried out of political pragmatism and expediency. Author Mary Adler has done praiseworthy research on the 1940s and the multifarious partisan machinations that allowed many war criminals and other miscreants to escape post-war justice.

Ms. Adler doesn’t write her mysteries in a linear way. The plot moves every which way, along with sub-plots with a surfeit of twists and turns—all designed to keep readers on their toes and engaged.

As the late, legendary mystery author P.D. James once said: “The detective can know nothing which the reader isn’t also told. It would be a very, very bad detective story at the end if the reader felt, ‘Who could possibly have guessed that?’ “

Ms. Adler reveals just enough to keep you turning the pages and she keeps you guessing for all 277 pages. Shadowed by Death: An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery is a worthy successor to In the Shadow of Lies, the first book in the Oliver Wright mystery series. We hope there will be more.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F2V369K

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowed-Death-Oliver-Wright-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07F2V369K

Also by Mary Adler

Buy both books from Mary’s author page US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7829648.M_A_Adler

Connect to Mary via her website: https://maryadlerwrites.com/

 

The final recent review today is for Skating on Thin Ice by USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.

About Skating on Thin Ice

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This book is the perfect mixture of romance with an action packed story line to keep you turning the pages. The author does a great job of drawing the reader into the world of ice hockey and the murky world of match fixing and deals with the mob. Mac Wanowski is a champion ice hockey player and, with him on board, his team looks set to win the season. This does not suit everyone and Mac is seriously injured while playing in a match two weeks before the final. He is sent away to a remote cabin in the mountains to heal. The team’s doctor delivers his niece, Sam, a physical therapist who desperately needs a break, to assist Mac with a speedy recovery. Little does he know that she has been offered the opportunity to obtain a contract as the physical therapist to Mac’s team but, in return, she must slow down his recovery.

When Sam meets Mac her soft heart quickly goes out to him, especially when she learns of the loss of his wife and unborn baby in a terrible accident a few years previously. Sam is also attracted to the taciturn hockey star and she can sense it is reciprocated. Sam makes a decision to try to help Mac and ensure that he is able to play in the final match of the season but she is unaware that there are other, much more dangerous people lurking, who are determined to keep Mac off the ice.

I enjoyed the character of smolderingly sexy Mac, with his heartbreaking past, and the sweet and big hearted, Sam, with her history of financial anxiety and determination to succeed in a male dominated profession.

An entertaining and easy read with a great twist at the end and lots of romantic ups and downs to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LGHB5D5

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skating-Thin-Ice-Warhawks-Book-ebook/dp/B07LGHB5D5

A selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you are leaving with some books under your arm… thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Jacquie Biggar, Clifford Browder and Christine Campbell


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and bookstore and the first author with a recent review is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar for Book 1 in the Wounded Souls series – Tidal Falls.

About the book

If you like Military Romance, Wounded Warrior Romance, Contemporary Romance, or Romantic Suspense, this is a sure to be a story you will love from USA Today Bestselling Author Jacquie Biggar.

Nick Kelley spent years working as a dog handler in the U.S. Marine Corps. His sole focus, to keep his team alive in the midst of chaos. When he fails to notice an IED in time and loses most of his teammates, Nick shuts down. It takes meeting and falling in love with a woman in danger to make him realize life’s worth living.

One of the recent reviews for the book

LA Bookworm 5.0 out of 5 stars NEW (TO ME) AUTHOR! January 23, 2019

What a terrific first book!!! It has all the good stuff….a heroine who is soft but kick butt, a studly former military hero, good friends for both and an ex-hubby/bad guy you love to hate. It’s not often that a first book from an author really is outstanding, but this one is. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series! (By the way, I found this author on Kindle Unlimited which has introduced me to authors I didn’t know and couldn’t afford to buy to try!)

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MS89MA6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tidal-Falls-Wounded-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B00MS89MA6

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

Now a recent review for Fascinating New Yorkers: Power Freaks, Mobsters, Liberated Women, Creators, Queers and Crazies by Clifford Browder.

About Fascinating New Yorkers

A prostitute’s daughter who got to know two ex-kings and a future emperor; a cardinal archbishop known in certain circles as “Franny”; a serial killer who terrorized the city; a pioneer in female erotica who had two husbands and kept a “lie box” to keep her two lives straight – they’re all here in Clifford Browder’s collection of posts from his blog, people who, some remembered today and some forgotten, fulfilled themselves richly or horrendously in the wild and crazy city of New York. Some of these people Browder knew or encountered briefly, and some he got to know through their works. He relates surprising things about J.P. Morgan and his nose, Andy Warhol’s sex life, Nicky (Mr. Untouchable) Barnes, and Polly Adler, Queen of Tarts. Getting to know these New Yorkers, readers will be shocked or angered, puzzled or amused, but never bored.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This book is my bed-time Bible, which is to say, I’m never without something fascinating to read, even when I’m between books. It’s studded with details. On every street-corner in NYC, at every intersection, numerous people lived, died, fired a gun, made love, led a march or quelled an angry mob. The buildings that do survive are silent witness. Clifford Browder brings it all home.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DQRDYPC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fascinating-New-Yorkers-Mobsters-Liberated-ebook/dp/B07DQRDYPC

A selection of other books by Clifford Browder

Read the reviews and discover all Clifford Browder’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Clifford-Browder/e/B001HOP166

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clifford-Browder/e/B001HOP166

Read more reviews and follow Clifford on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/296927.Clifford_Browder

Connect to Clifford via his blog: https://cbrowder.blogspot.com/

And the last author today with a recent review for Gold Plated is Christine Campbell

About Gold Plated

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul.

What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’m not always the world’s greatest fan of writing in the first person, present tense – but for this story, where it’s particularly important to be able to identify with Rosanna and feel the impact of the events in her life, it was a perfect choice. I liked very much too the way the story was constructed – as the excitement and anticipation builds with the approach of the anniversary party, and we get to know Rosanna and her family, the story slips back to 1964 to explore their earlier lives and all the twists and turns of life that brought them to this point. The music of the time works well as a soundtrack for the optimism of youth, the attraction of the unattainable, the naive infatuation, the betrayal and reconciliation, and the sewing together of a web of secrets that has repercussions down the years.

I so don’t want to spoil this book for anyone, so I do need to be a little cagy about what happens at the party – but its impact and what follows was perhaps the part of the book I most enjoyed. The scenes on which the story turns are vividly drawn – with a cinematic quality and emotional impact that delivers a tremendous punch. And the story that follows is one that any older reader will absolutely identify with as I did, with an exceptional authenticity about the relationships, actions and depth of feeling. There were times when I found myself aching inside – but there were other points when I rejoiced over small victories and forward steps that really touched my heart.

And I really must mention one aspect that particularly struck me about the writing itself – the author’s exceptional powers of description, which transport you into the heart of the story. It creates that important difference between reading – and being at a distance from the story – and being able to feel it. Textures of fabric, the different nuances of colour, the varieties of brushstrokes, the small but significant details that bring a scene into being – this was very accomplished writing, and a joy to experience.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gold-Plated-Christine-Campbell-ebook/dp/B07D6PFFYN

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Gold-Plated-Christine-Campbell-ebook/dp/B07D6PFFYN/

A selection of other books by Christine Campbell.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

Read more reviews and follow Christine on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7126731.Christine_Campbell

Connect to Christine via her blog: http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Something to Think About – Keeping the Magic of Romance Alive Every Day by Sally Cronin


This post appeared on Jacquie Biggar’s website last year. I thought you might like to read again on this day of love and romance….

Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day and I believe that romance is something that infuses every day of a relationship, but if receiving a card, or some roses, reminds someone of how much they are loved, then this is a good day.

My thanks to Jacquie for inviting me to share my views on romance. It is one of the elements of our lives which is universal, and much sort after. People often ask what the secret to a happy relationship is… darned if I know.  All I can offer you is some of the little things I have come to appreciate over the last 50 odd years of dating and relationships. Make that 55 as I had a crush on Peter Birch at primary school age ten which resulted in my first broken heart!

Because many of you who are reading this are writers, I thought you might be interested in a few statistics on the billion-dollar-a-year Romance book industry via Romance Writers

  • The annual total sales of romance novels per year is in excess of a billion dollars.
  • Romance novel share of the U.S. fiction market is 34%.
  • 82% of romance readers are women.
  • Average age is 35-39.

What interested me about these statistics is that romance is a hot ticket item. It is also evident that romantic stories are very much sought after by women, but clearly not as high on the list for men. Something that those who feel men are sometimes not as romantic as they might be, would find interesting!

Another statistic is that the average age of those seeking out romance stories is between the ages of 35-39… which begs the question… Do women in their 40s, 50s, 60s give up on romance, or they are simply not catered for by the romance writers?

Like most young girls of my generation, I was infused with the myths surrounding love and romance at an early age. Between fairy tales and my mother’s desire to make the goal of romance clear cut in my mind, I surmised that at some point a Prince Charming, on a white horse, would sweep into my life, whisk me off my feet, and we would ride off into a future of bliss, children and Happy Ever After.

I was encouraged to take the available wisdom to heart, and with hopes and dreams of my own, embarked on my own dating adventures. The trouble with ingrained expectations is that they are not always as revered by others, particularly the opposite sex.

However, after some false starts, at the age of 20, a more mature Prince Charming of 26 did arrive, in uniform and driving a classic American sports car. It seemed that expectations had been met and exceeded, and it was crowned with a spectacular wedding with matriarchal approval on both sides. We drove off into the sunset with clanging tin cans behind the steed… which proved to be tolling bells of doom!

Trouble is what you see is not always what you get! And when compounded with differing expectations of what a relationship is supposed to be, and a lack of commitment of one of the participants, things tend to fall apart. After four years, some interesting life lessons, and an expensive legal intervention which took three years, I finally managed to extricate myself with a vow to never marry again.

Then wouldn’t you know it, six months later, into my life walked a softly-spoken, unassuming guy who took me out on a date and asked me to marry him before the night was over. Five weeks later, without any ceremony, and with just our parents in attendance, we exchanged rings and our own vows.

The last 39 years have taught me that romance is not one-size fits all, is unique to two people who love each other, and is not always about red roses and chocolates.

Some of the elements that spell romance for me.

As Jeremy Taylor quoted ‘Love is Friendship set on Fire’. Of course there is that initial, and amazing firework display of hormonally induced physical attraction, which then evolves over the years into a familiarity that can still be breathtaking. However, without the essential elements of like-mindedness, shared moral code, sense of humour, and appreciation of another’s unique personality, the fire of romance slowly dies down to embers.

An analogy I often use for romance between two people, is that it is like an extended ballroom dance that flows and whirls with two partners in perfect sync. Always staying within the limits of the dance floor, allowing other styles come into play, with fiery tangos and playful sambas as the tempo of the music changes. Even when there is a momentary loss of connection, there is a coming together again, and the dance always finishes in a firm embrace.

Whilst there may be the occasional extravagant gesture when a special event warrants it, mostly it is the small things that keep romance alive and flourishing.

Red roses are wonderful, and we all love to receive a bouquet on Valentine’s Day or an anniversary. But it is the odd flower brought in from the garden and laid on a breakfast tray, a small tree planted in the garden that blossoms every spring, or the paper flower, misshapen and oddly coloured that appears by a bedside, that really help to keep romance alive.

Romance is waking up on every birthday to find cards hand-made from images of sea, sunflowers, cats and dogs, golden sunsets with handwritten verses inside that come from the heart. It is also those few minutes on your wedding anniversary when you sit silently, holding hands and remembering that special day and the people who are no longer there to share the memories with you.

True romance flourishes when you are unwell and scared and a strong hand holds yours and a voice close to your ear, tells you that it will be alright, that you are safe. It is when you suffer a loss and cry together and heal together. It is when you walk through the door and someone says, ‘hi love, how was your day?’

Romance is when the last words before you go to sleep are ‘I love you’

Romance does exist after 39 years old, whatever the statistics might say.

Romance and love go hand in hand, and as I watch very old people together, you can tell the ones who still adore and respect each other. It is easy to still see that spark and twinkle in the eyes, the small touches of a hand or brush of lint from a shoulder. That unity has been welded from years of life, laughter, sadness, joy, disappointment, excitement and love. Thousands of cups of tea, breakfasts in bed, dances in the kitchen, date nights, holding hands in the movies and vigils by a sickbed, have gone into the rich tapestry that is romance. There might be a faded red rose pressed between the pages of a diary, or a diamond ring that comes out on special occasions, but it is these small daily gestures that will have kept the romance alive and will continue to do so long after one or both of them dies.

Romance is also about the things we don’t do in a relationship.

We don’t belittle someone we love in public and then say ‘But you know I love you’.

We don’t bully them and then say we are doing it ‘Because you know I love you.’

We don’t marry who we believe is Prince Charming or the fairy princess, and then set about changing them by saying ‘You know it is because I love you.’

We don’t take the actions of those we love for granted, and saying ‘thank you’ for a meal, a wardrobe full of clean clothes or for being a great mum or dad, goes a long way to keep romance alive.

Romance is not about making someone happy or expecting them to make you happy. Your happiness is your responsibility and choice. Putting the onus for your happiness on someone else is a very quick way to lose them.

I will leave you with one of my favourite poems on romance from Elizabeth Barrett Browning courtesy of The Poem Hunter

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Most of my stories have an element of romance.. and with my latest book, I have even got a Prince Charming (the good kind).

About Tales from the Irish Garden

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature. Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.

As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell. This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

All my books in Ebook are available: Amazon UK

And Amazon US: Amazon US

You can read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: Goodreads

Thank you for dropping in today and even if you don’t celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, what is the most romantic gesture you have ever received?

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – The Beast Within (Mended Souls Book Two) by Jacquie Biggar


I requested several books for Christmas as I love having a full TBR locked and loader on my reader to start the year. I have been storing up some of my reviews to share over the next couple of weeks as I am going to be offline during the day-time with some offline projects and jaunts.

The first review is by USA Bestselling Romance Author Jacquie Biggar and her book The Beast Within (Mended Souls Book Two) a paranormal/suspense/thriller/romance.

Let me set the scene…. since this is the second book in the series the first being The Guardian which introduced Lucas Carmichael and Scott Anderson who had it all, money, fame, and fortune. But one night’s stupid mistake takes everything they thought they cherished and dumps it upside down.

About The Beast Within.

When Julie Crenshaw is offered a news reporter’s job on beautiful Vancouver Island she didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.

Connor O’Rourke has seen his share of human depravities during his fourteen years as a homicide detective, but is still sickened by the murderer terrorizing his island shores.

And threatening his key witness. As the stakes rise, can two people get a second chance at love? Or will a killer become the winner?

My review of The Beast Within.

I am open minded about the existence of other worldly beings, and would love to think that there were a couple of guardian angels looking out for me and mine.

Julie Crenshaw needs all the help she can get as she is at risk from the very serial killer she is investigating for her paper.  Still coming to terms with being widowed, Julie is fighting the temptation to be drawn into a new and complicated relationship with the good-looking lead detective, all the time being watched over by the husband she lost to a fatal car crash.

He in turn is at odds with the angel he has been partnered with, and who is responsible for the crash that killed him. They are supposed to be working together to get over their animosity, but there is a lot of work needed to achieve that.

Despite picking up the story in the second book, the author introduced the previous characters in a timely fashion which meant it was easy to get right into the plot as a stand alone thriller. From the middle of the book the story gathers pace, as Julie researches the possibility there is more to the killer than meets the eye, racing towards an exciting climax as the characters of this world and the next come together.

I will be reading more of this author’s books as there is certainly plenty to choose from across the romantic genre.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MQEVI55

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beast-Within-Gripping-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01MQEVI55

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

About Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar is a USA TODAY bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want. That is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has also contributed to several successful anthologies.

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site: http://jacqbiggar.com

Connect to Jacquie Biggar

http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar
http://Facebook.com/jacquiebiggar
Facebook Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1051448161572521/
http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar
http://amazon.com/author/jacquiebiggar
https://www.goodreads.com/JacquieBiggar
http://Pinterest.com/jacqbiggar
https://plus.google.com/+JacquieBiggar
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jacquie-biggar
Newsletter- https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/h6c2n8

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and explore other books by Jacquie Biggar. We all need a little romance in our lives….. thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Jacquie Biggar and Daniel Kemp


Welcome to the first Cafe and Bookstore Update for the week.

The first author with a recent review for the prequel to her successful Howarth Family Trilogy A Hundred Tiny Threads is Judith Barrow.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I expected this novel to be a typical historical romance but it was much more than that. It was gritty, it pulled no punches and this made the characterisation and events more real. The author enables you to connect with the story through knowledge of historical events and just the way life was…and still is in many ways. I also found it educational as it broadened my understanding of the suffragette movement and also the troubles in Ireland and the black and tans. Her description of place enables the reader to visualise the settings easily and the relationships between her characters are believable…no typical happy ending which I liked.

Head over read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Read more reviews and follow Judith on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

Despite being passed the festive season, it is always a good time for romance. USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar provides that in her pre-Christmas release, Mistletoe Inn 

About Mistletoe Inn

Fall in love this holiday season!

A grieving man finds the greatest gift is love in this heartwarming holiday romance.

Molly McCarty is in need of a new beginning after a disastrous divorce. When the opportunity to invest in a bed and breakfast appears online in Christmas, Michigan she’s intrigued.
A snow storm derails her travels and leaves her at the mercy of a grim stranger- who turns out to be her new partner!
Noah Kincaid loses his parents in a tragic fire that leaves him scarred inside and out. He’s raised by a great-aunt and is devastated when cancer takes her life. But vowing never to care about anyone again is hampered by his troublesome new partner and her son.
Will a Christmas miracle bring three lonely hearts the gift of love?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Heartwarming love story! This the first time that I read a novella written by this new author Jacquie Biggar. She didn’t disappoint me with this short love story ‘Mistletoe Inn’. What a sweet story! It tells the sweet and romantic story of Molly, who needs a fresh new start after an awful divorce and Noah, a bruised man suffering of PTSD. During a snow storm, both their worlds collide with force and a build new friendship. Along with her son Leo, all three will embark on a Journey of hope, trust and romance.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HY69RPL

And Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mistletoe-Inn-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B07HY69RPL

Universal link: http://books2read.com/MistletoeInn

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie via her website: http://jacqbiggar.com

And finally a recent review for Daniel Kemp and his thriller,The Widow’s Son released just before Christmas.

About The Widow’s Son

Three months before the invasion of Iraq, a member of a Masonic fraternity known as the Rosicrucians escapes from a British Intelligence holding station.

Orchestrated by the head of the Russian Federal Security Service, this event is somehow linked to a the highly classified CIA file only known as Gladio B. Tasked to destroy an unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, the chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee plans to bring the criminals to justice.

But he is running low on both time and allies, as mass annihilation threatens the whole planet. Who are the mysterious eight families that seem to be behind the mysterious events, and what do they have to do with the ancient 33rd degree level of understanding, only known by the mysterious Rosicrucian brotherhood?

One of the early reviews for the book

Brian Kitchen 5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing spy thriller 30 December 2018

I’ve always enjoyed a good spy thriller and over the years have enjoyed reading John le Carré, Len Deighton and Graham Greene. Most spy thrillers focus on the work done by the agent in the field and few are centred around those who supervise and direct those agents. Daniel Kemp’s protagonist, however, is the new chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee responsible for directing intelligence operations, which made for a fascinating read. Given a seeming impossible task and not knowing who he can trust, time is running out for the action is set in 2002 not long before the Second Gulf War. I won’t spoil the plot for readers, but I was engrossed by the story and really enjoyed it. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07LCQX4DY

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LCQX4DY

Also by Daniel Kemp

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daniel-Kemp/e/B075XRTBRP/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Kemp/e/B075XRTBRP/

Read more reviews and follow Daniel on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17257200.Daniel_Kemp

Connect to Daniel via his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/booksbydaniel/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you have found a book or two to add to your TBRs… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations – The First Day of Christmas with guests Mary Smith, Jacquie Biggar and John W. Howell


Welcome to the first of the Twelve Days of Christmas party where guests will share their best ever Christmas presents ever…and there will be food, drink and of course music and to get you into the spirit of the season.. here are some choristers with particular appeal..

I tried to remember the first Christmas that I was aware of as a child. I must have got the general idea of the concept of presents quite young as at age seven when we moved to Malta I began the practice of putting a pillowcase on the end of my bed from around mid-October…. I think this ticked my mother off somewhat because she sat me down at the beginning of December and told me that Father Christmas did not exist and that from now on I would have my presents around the tree like my two sisters who were in their late teens….. My brother would only have been three years old at the time and so was not really interested one way or another.

It must have made quite an impression on me as I then related this story to my husband before our first Christmas when we were talking about how we would spend our first together. Since we had only known each other for six weeks when we married in mid-November it was not surprising that there were a few things that we had not had time to discuss, especially something as trivial as Father Christmas! However, imagine my delight when I woke early on Christmas morning to find a heavy weight across my legs (oy… Nothing like that this is a family show) I switched the light on to find a pillowcase packed to the rafters with carefully wrapped presents… Nothing too grand as we were pretty broke but I remember bursting into tears at the time at this act of love and kindness…

Every year since then for the last 38 Christmas mornings we have woken early and sneaked a stocking full of nonsense on to each other’s side of the bed and when we had Sam still, he had one too. There is a frenzy of unwrapping or ripping in the case of Sam, and much laughter and illicit consumption of chocolate oranges and cashew nuts. In the case of Sam it was the sniffing out to the bottom of the snack to find his customary pig’s ear… I always put a tatty duvet cover on for this occasion and it was necessary.

As to my favourite Christmas present of all time……that would probably be the year that my parents came up to London to stay with us and have Christmas dinner. My father loved big band music and at the time was still listening to a 1960s record player. We gave him a fairly flat package, and he unwrapped it to find four CDs of Glen Miller Big Band Music.. He tried so hard to look excited, but then looked at me and said ‘I don’t have anything to play these on’. David then handed over another large package to my mystified father, who tore of the wrapping to find a box containing a combined radio and CD player with detachable speakers. The look on his face is still very clear in my mind today. Priceless.

Just in case my father is listening in from somewhere over the rainbow.. here is Glenn Miller with In The Christmas Mood…..

Actually the 12 days do not begin today but from Christmas Day until the evening of the 5th January. These days are associated with religious calendars and rather than the fun approach in the song we sing, many are in tribute to someone who met a tragic end. The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the Middle Ages and were a time of celebration of various events around the birth of Jesus or to celebrate the life of a saint or martyr. Each day had its own significance.

Day 1 (25th December): Christmas Day celebrating the birth of Jesus and the setting of the nativity.

Now time to meet our first guest who is someone who has accompanied during the last five years of blogging and whose books I have enjoyed. Author Mary Smith lives in Scotland but has her experiences of working in Afghanistan and Pakistan to draw upon when writing her novels and short stories. Mary has also written in collaboration a series of books on her home in Scotland.

This is Mary’s very best Christmas present ever….

As soon as I read your  post I remembered my best ever Christmas present – roller skates. It was a completely surprise gift from Santa (my four-years-younger sister was still a believer), something I hadn’t asked for. It took me a while to master them because I kept trying to walk rather than roll but once I got the knack I was off, skating up and down the pavements. Those skates gave me such freedom. In the summer the grounds of the High School became my giant skating playground. I didn’t mind if I was alone but often other kids joined me. A steep, ridged concrete path ran from the playground to the tennis courts, which was great for testing our nerves. We tied a rope onto a bike and took turns being pulled down the slope, faster and faster – the ridges on the concrete made my teeth rattle. I can still feel the exhilaration and sheer joy my skating days gave me. Very tempted now to put skates on my Christmas wish list!

My Christmas gift to Mary courtesy of the most entertaining virtual giftstore ‘Youtube’

It took some doing Mary but my Christmas gift to you, is annual membership of this international group of skaters…Moxi Girls… who are preparing a wardrobe for your debut performance…they were thinking Mary, Queen of Scots as your moniker……

Books by Mary Smith: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0
Website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

51ArFSI2FFL._UY250_

A recent review for No More Mulberries

Thru the eyes of a converted Scottish midwife and her 2 husbands. Miriam is an highly trained midwife who meets an handsome Afghani engineering student in Edinburgh University. They fall madly in love, she converts to the Muslim faith for him and they marry and have a child. Not too long after their son is born, tragedy strikes and she is widowed. She marries again and the story, “No More Mulberries”, is the intricate unwinding of these lives in the midst of a war torn country.

The writing is rich with descriptions and emotion. The characters are well fleshed out, complex and burdened. This is not a one sided political treatise but rather an inside look from the vantage point of a common village family and some slightly higher up; but only slightly. Life in early 1990’s for the Afghani people was akin to 1890’s America, extraordinarily so for the women.

Altho’ M. Smith portrays the realities in her book, this story is not without a feeling of love and hope. These are resilient people in tragic circumstances trying to maintain families and some semblance of normalcy. There are moments of humor to relieve the tension so deftly written about.

There is nothing offensive in this book. All the language, violence and sexual content are easily within a PG rating with nothing being gratuitous or overly descriptive. You will get the picture without being given a high-def, 4K, knockout punch. This book will effect you, I know it did me. The invasion of Afghanistan was almost 25 years ago and the battle still rages. “No More Mulberries” will give you a chance to see what it might be like on the inside, from the inside.

We assume that carols are of religious origin but in fact they are pagan songs that were sung to celebrate the four seasons. For thousands of years at the Winter Solstice for example people would dance around large stone circles and the word carol actually means to dance in praise and joy. Over time the practice of singing carols became synonymous with Christmas and was adopted by Christianity as a way of celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Over the years it has become a tradition for musicians to bring out their own compositions in honour of the season and over the coming days I will be sharing the carols and music that are sung all over the world by those who celebrate this particular festival.

And to start us off, where is a wonderful choir called Proclaim with Mary Did You Know……

My next guest is USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar who writes across the fantasy and romance genres. Here is what she shared about her best Christmas gift ever.

Jacquie’s best Christmas gift ever.

My favorite Christmas gift arrived six years ago, not long after I moved to the island. Hubby was working in Alberta and only came home every three weeks, and my daughter and grandson had started school—I was lonely.

Knowing my love of animals, hubby brought me a Christmas surprise, a tiny calico kitten! I fell immediately in love with her furry body and sea-green eyes. And best of all, I wasn’t alone anymore. I’m attaching a pic of her above. Her name is Harley

My Christmas Gift for Jacquie is a hamper of all the top cat lover’s gifts… I hope you and Harley have a blast…….

Discover all of Jacquie’s books, read the reviews and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG
Website: http://jacqbiggar.com

51rezzjnual-_uy250_  

Here is one of the recent reviews Mistletoe Inn

I love Christmas books and the perfect holiday book has to be full of heart and romance, healing, redemption, warm and cozy Christmas themes and maybe a hint of the magic of the season. Throw in a small child and a dog and you have me. Mistletoe Inn has all that and more. Noah is on his way to becoming a grumpy recluse. He bears the scars, inside and outside from the fire that killed both his parents when he was a small child. His aunt, who raised him and he loved, recently died too. I think that she was a wise woman because just before she died she sold part interest in her B&B called Mistletoe Inn to a young divorcee with a small child wanting to make a new start. Like it or not, Molly starts to thaw the ice that encases Noah’s heart. And, in a place like Christmas, Michigan, covered in snow and Christmas joy,and surrounded by young families and couples coming to the Inn for a romantic holiday who can resist romance? The novella has some depth and lots of heart too with themes of grieving and starting over. You will quickly feel like Christmas when you read this!

Traditionally mince pies were a bit of luxury and also a status symbol for those living in 17th century and very wealthy folk would show off at their Christmas gatherings by having their pies in all kinds of shapes and sizes and were more a reflection of their ability to employ a high end pastry cook more than anything.  In the early days they would have contained minced meat of lamb, beef, chicken etc rather than those we eat today made with dried fruit and spices.

Traditionally it is said that if you have one a day from Christmas Day through to Twelfth night you will enjoy much happiness for the next 12 months… If ever there was an excuse to eat something sweet and fattening then this is the best yet….

They are really straightforward to make and our own Foodie… Carol Taylor shares her recipe in her post including how to make your own sweet mincemeat: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-columncarol-taylor-cooks-sweet-mincemeat/

And my third guest today is thriller and paranormal mystery author John W. Howell who lives on the Texas coast, has three dogs who have him right where they want him.. Lucy, Bailey and Twiggy..for example when it came to the Christmas Decorations

John was very quick to share his most favourite Christmas gift every and you can tell it made quite the impression on him…

John’s most favourite gift ever

When I was about six years old, I wanted an electric train. I told my parents that a train was all I wanted. They said a train was not in the cards that year.

I went to bed accepting the fact that a train was not going to be under the tree. My older sister had told me there was no Santa Claus, so I had not sent a letter to the North Pole with my request. If there was a Santa, which I believed before my sister filled me in, I could make a wish even at this late date. So before finally falling asleep, I asked Santa to please leave a train.

The next morning the living room was a magic land filled with presents. The tree sparkled with colored bulbs, and I could see a Lionel engine with ten cars sitting on tracks that went all the way around the tree. I could not believe my eyes. As a consequence, I still believe in Santa Claus.

My Christmas gift to John is a re-creation of that magical Christmas morning… kindly provided by Karla Hemingway

 Read all the reviews and buy John Howell’s books: http://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C
Blog: https://johnwhowell.com/

A recent reviews for Circumstances of Childhood Aug 24, 2018 Karen rated it it was amazing

This book provides you with a first look at Greg, whereas Keith introduces you to the story.

With Circumstances of Childhood, John W. Howell has created a unique story of friendship, loss, and much more. Greg and Keith are very likeable characters; as the story proceeded, I became their invisible friend. The story comprises a variety of craftily elaborated characters with depth and interesting interactions until the last page. I had a great time reading Circumstances of Childhood – it is a very intriguing and intense read; it turned me into an invisible ally and/or friend of the believable protagonists. I was drawn into the story right away, eager to learn more. Some of the events may start a new train of thoughts, maybe even shine a new light on something familiar.

This is for you if you like thrillers with excellent twists, interesting and complex characters, a touch of the paranormal, and – food for thought. A compelling and remarkable read by a master of story-telling.

And something for you to drink before you head off into the cold. – The Eggnog

There is some debate about the origins of Eggnog but it probably goes back to what was called Posset in medieval Europe -it was a sweetened dairy based drink made with milk, cream, sugar and eggs which would have been beaten together to form a frothy drink with some cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled on top. Over time of course some bright sparks began to add some alcohol to the mix depending on where they lived at the time… Today in various parts of the world you will find a version of Eggnog served with rum, brandy or whisky. It is very warming and sweet and if also combined with rum I understand it has an impact on short term memory…..

What is quite delicious is to make the concoction into an ice cream and that goes beautifully with mince pies or Christmas pudding.

There are a number of great recipes online and I can suggest that you check this one out: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/homemade-eggnog/

Thank you for joining us today…The Second Day of Christmas… tomorrow….with guests, Darlene Foster and Miriam Hurdle

What was your most memorable Christmas gift? it would be amazing if you would share.. thanks Sally