Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update- #Reviews – Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Toni Pike and Jan Sikes


Welcome to the second Cafe and Bookstore Update this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

Delighted to share a recent review for the 6th book in the Sir Chocolate series of stories and cookbooks by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

About the story

Number 6 in the Sir Chocolate series: Five zoo animals go missing and Sir Chocolate needs to find them. Includes five lovely new recipes. Not only a storybook but a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to create wonderful recipes together.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle and her son Michael, in the delightful book Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five Story and Cookbook, combine children’s story, poetry and recipes together. The story is about a zoo in Chocolate Land with Fondant Five, namely the lion, king of the jungle, the gentle elephant, the elegant leopard, the bulky rhino, and the buffalo. Sir Chocolate cares for them. One day, these five fondant animals disappeared. Sir Chocolate found Fondant Cat who could help to find Fondant Five.

This fun story book includes recipes for Lady Sweet Rusks, Buffalo Coconut Cake, Rhino Soetkoekies, Cheetah Cheese Scones, and Sir Chocolate Peppermint Caramel Pudding.

The book has beautiful photograph of the fondant animals and desserts. Students in the classrooms will enjoy the story, poems and photos in this book. I will read this to my granddaughter. I also love the idea of parents doing the cooking with their children using these recipes.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PVKZ851

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolate-Fondant-Five-Story-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B07PVKZ851

A selection of books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael Cheadle via their Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Now for a recent review for the recently released  thriller from Toni Pike…..Desolation Bluff

About the book

Blind romance author Oliver Cameron uses the pen name of Fidel Amore and thinks he has the perfect life at his country estate near Desolation Bluff. After a honeymoon in Paris, his wife Vanessa continues her work as his assistant. His friend Ray is the business manager who lives in the gatehouse and also acts as the public face of Fidel Amore, doing all those book-signing trips that Oliver never wanted to attend. Helen Dunkley is the housekeeper devoted to him since childhood – but she detests the two newcomers.

Complications set in when Ray, working on his old car, accidentally backs into Oliver. His injuries appear minor but the next day he suddenly regains his sight. Oliver wants Ray and Rachel to be the first to hear his good news, but when he finds them he uncovers a shocking betrayal.

A game of cat and mouse begins – and with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, it turns deadly.

A short suspense novel that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

One of the recent reviews for the book

May 03, 2019 Debbie Harris rated it it was amazing  · 

I have enjoyed Toni Pike’s books before, particularly Dead Dry Heart and when she asked if I’d read her new novel Desolation Bluff I was pleased to do so for an honest review. I received an ARC at no cost from the author.

This story was interesting, riveting and full of suspense. The fact that Oliver Cameron was a romance writer and blind as well, made for an intriguing main character. When he was able to ‘see’ what was happening around him with his new wife Vanessa and friend Ray, it all became clear!

I enjoyed the location as I know the area quite well and could imagine it all happening there. The characters were well drawn and the story moved along at a good pace. It was all a bit over the top at times but this fitted in with the whole romance writing genre and made it a fun read. It wasn’t all happiness and light with a few deaths, but well written and highly enjoyable.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RCDRF86

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Desolation-Bluff-Toni-Pike-ebook/dp/B07RCDRF86

Also by Toni Pike

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14736589.Toni_Pike

About Toni Pike

Connect to Toni Pike via her website: www.tonipike.com

And for the final author today, Jan Sikes, a recent review for Flowers and Stone...

About Flowers and Stone

The epic love story begins here!

A hot Texas summer, dim-lit honky-tonk bars, a young naïve fledgling go-go dancer and a wild rebel Texas musician set the stage for this story.

1970 in Abilene, Texas finds young Darlina Flowers trying to figure out how to fit into the world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music and go-go dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician believes he’s lost all reason to care about his music career, his health and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. But, is it too late? Has fate already determined the outcome? Join Luke and Darlina on a passion-filled journey up and down Texas roads while Luke and his band entertain crowds along the way.

Can Darlina Flowers ever hope to fit in to this strange new world and even more important, can she trust Luke Stone with her heart?

Luke Stone, a good man who has made a career of bad decisions, falls as completely in love with Darlina as she does with him. But is it too late?

Will their eternal unyielding love survive the test of time, distance and iron bars?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes is a passionate love story that raises some questions. Since this is a true love story, I was all the time thinking how naïve young lovers are, why their decisions are capricious and why can’t they see reason. Love is said to be blind and if this is true, no story can ever illustrate it better than this one. I wonder how could Darlina continue to love a person who didn’t confide his dark secrets to her? I couldn’t relate with either of the protagonists, Darlina is too emotional and immature and Luke, a married man with children seems to be a womanizer. This love story may seem charming to young lovers.

The plot moves slowly as it revolves around two lovers and their world of music and nightlife but the good part is that it is unpredictable. It is Sikes’ simple and honest style of writing that would keep you engrossed. Having said that, I must mention that it is repetitive; uses too many curse words and doesn’t tell anything about the most crucial part of the story. Evidence details are missing and the ending is too abrupt. I closed this book, longing for more. Probably the next book contains the answers. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G062JBG

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Stone-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B00G062JBG

Also by Jan Sikes

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: http://www.jansikes.com

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

 

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #reviews – Bette A. Stevens, Fiona Tarr and Jan Sikes


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates and the first author with a recent review is Bette A. Stevens for her book Pure Trash: The Story

About Pure Trash: The Story

It’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel DOG BONE SOUP. The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!

In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great day. Shawn is sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd. This is a story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied (and not just by kids). It may redefine your definition of bullying. If you were a child who was thought of as “different” in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its synonyms. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social status of a dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jan 01, 2019 Darlene Foster rated it Five Stars

A wonderful story written from the point of view of a child growing up in poverty. The author does an excellent job of depicting discrimination and how a child deals with living within a dysfunctional, poor family. Kids are kids no matter what the situation and can be very resourceful. In few words, the reader gets a clear picture of the life and times. Well worth a read.

Read reviews for the book and buy: https://www.amazon.com/PURE-TRASH-Bette-A-Stevens-ebook/dp/B00EH0RV6K/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TRASH-Historical-Fiction-Short-prequel-ebook/dp/B00EH0RV6K

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Connect to Bette via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

Now something for fantasy lovers from Fiona Tarr with a recent review for Call of the Druids ( The Priestess Chronicles – Volume 1)

About Call of the Druids

When an Angel answers your prayers, you had better be prepared!

All Ariela has ever wished for is to be treated like all the other Priestesses and be given a chance to use her powers to fight evil. Until now, her parents have held her back, treated her like a Princess and kept her from danger.

Now she is eighteen and believes she will finally be allowed to embark on her first quest. But when Ariela’s uncle the King sends word that he has promised her in marriage, Ariela’s hopes are shattered.

She prays for an escape. When the Angel Raziel offers her a divine quest, she must choose!

Stay, marry and never be the Priestess she longs to be or leave everything she has ever known, for a quest she knows nothing about—to a place and time she has never seen—for people she is yet to meet.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This is the first book in a new series from Tarr, which for those who have read the Covenant of Grace series, will feel as though they’re right back on familiar track. This book follows the daughter of two very well-loved characters from the Covenant Series, however, this one is not set in ancient Israel but rather during Roman times! Now how this comes about I’ll not reveal but the epic ideas and the engaging characters are just as good as ever. This is a must read for any fans of historical/religious fiction, but if you are just looking for a bit of adventure with a touch of the supernatural, this will do you just as nicely!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JN8W5CG

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Call-Druids-Priestess-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07JN8W5CG

Also by Fiona Tarr

Read all the reviews and buy the books including a box set: https://www.amazon.com/Fiona-Tarr/e/B00KOL7XI2

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fiona-Tarr/e/B00KOL7XI2

Read more reviews and follow Fiona on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8423164.Fiona_Tarr

Connect to  Fiona via her website: http://atime2write.com.au

A recent review for the short story collection Two Shorts and a Snort from award-winning author Jan Sikes.

About Two Shorts and a Snort

This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:
How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:
Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Heather Kindt 5.0 out of 5 stars Messed Up But Marvelous January 10, 2019

Sikes has a way with words. This collection of two short stories and a poem keep you riveted. Charlie’s life is so messed up that you have to keep reading to see what’s going to happen to him. I really enjoyed Maggie’s story, too. Pick up these quick reads, you won’t be disappointed.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DY8FSWL/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL

Also by Jan Sikes.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: http://www.jansikes.com

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

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Sixth Day of Christmas with Guests William Price King, Annette Rochelle Aben and Jan Sikes


Welcome to the sixth party in this series and today my guests are the amazing William Price King, American Jazz singer, crooner and composer who has been providing the music content for Smorgasbord for over four years. Joining him today is friend but also new and very welcome collaborator, who has a background in broadcasting and music, Annette Rochelle Aben who will be writing her own Numerology column from the New Year. Also with a wonderful career in both publishing and the music industry, is my third guest, Jan Sikes.

All will be sharing their most cherished Christmas memories throughout today’s post.

My Christmas memories…

In early 1965 a film was released in the UK that was to be a turning point for me and the start of a lifelong crush on the lead actor. Christopher Plummer was 36 at the time that The Sound of Music became available to the general public and not just musical theatre goers. I was just twelve but I saw myself as Maria from that moment on. I saw that film three times in the next 18 months and I could rattle all the songs off at a drop of hat including The Lonely Goatherd with requisite yodelling.

My ardour did not diminish, and when we returned to Portsmouth in 1967, I managed to coerce a school friend into forming a double act. At age 14 we were encouraged to reach out to the community at Christmas, and undaunted by the prospect of performing publicly, my friend and I dressed ourselves in replicas of the film costumes. Actually my mother was missing a pair of old curtains, so we did not stray too far from the script…and we offered our services to three old people’s homes in the local area.

We would turn up after school in the weeks before Christmas and join the residents for a cup of tea and a piece of cake before performing our repertoire of songs from The Sound of Music. I must admit that a couple of songs in and there was a fair bit of nodding off…not to be outdone I would burst into The Lonely Goatherd and it served to enliven the audience who would look around bemusedly at the sound of a strangled cat in between the verses.

I did however have a ‘moment’ in my early 40’s. We were on holiday in the French Alps one summer and had hiked up one of the surrounding mountains. We reached a plateau that was dotted with alpine flowers and after we had consumed our packed lunch and with no one else in sight, I took my chance. I stood in the middle of the meadow and gave the title song as loud a rendition as I possibly could. I threw my arms wide as I finished and turned in a slow circle to receive the applause of my husband, only to find that a large group of Japanese tourists had just reached the edge of the plateau and were snapping photographs and clapping madly…I think they thought that it was especially laid on for their lunchtime entertainment. A quick descent was called for in the opposite direction.

As my first guest is William Price King it seems more than appropriate to get the party started with one of his own performances. We will meet him in person a little later.

My thanks again to Why Christmas for their detailed information on the traditions around the world. The Falkland Islands are in the South Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles from the east coast at the bottom of South America. They are a British Overseas Territory even though they’re about 8,000 miles away from the rest of the UK. There are only around 3,000 residents of the Islands with most living in the capital Stanley, and considering the land mass occupies around 4,700 square miles, it is hardly over populated.. But there 150,000 sheep.

It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere and being British the Islanders share many of the traditions with the UK. It is very windy which means few trees, but artificial ones are on display. As you might guess roast lamb is the most likely Christmas dinner and it is very expensive to fly turkeys in from South America.

As at home, pantomime is very popular and children on the more remote parts of the islands get their presents flown in from the capital. Carol singing takes place under a ‘Whale Bone Arch’  constructed from the jaw bones of two blue whales… and on Boxing Day the horse races attract punters and spectators from all over The Falklands.

Time now to meet William Price King and find out about his most favourite Christmas gift ever..His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour. You can find out more about William and his career in his latest Music Column

William shares his most treasured Christmas memory...

It was Christmas Eve. Before starting the day I called our youngest daughter who lives in Germany to wish her good luck for her performance as Rosina in “The Barber of Seville” that evening and to get confirmation that she and her boyfriend were still planning to celebrate Christmas at his parents’ home in Düsseldorf. She answered affirmatively and said that they were looking forward to it as they had done in the previous years. We spoke for a moment and then I wished her a good show and said we would call them on Christmas.

I finished decorating the tree and put the presents in place. Wakanda, our cat, took quick possession of her Christmas box and happily installed herself under the tree. In the meanwhile my wife and I continued preparing for the big day and began making the final touches, reminiscing over the good old days when we had the entire family at home for Christmas. Those days were gone.

Around midnight we went to bed happy that everything was ready for our Christmas celebration in anticipation of seeing the grand kids frantically open their gifts. Around 6 a.m. my wife woke me up and said that she heard someone walking in the house. I told her it must have been a dream, as we live alone. Plus, why would Santa be walking around in our house at 6 a.m. on Christmas day, right? My wife insisted it wasn’t a dream. She really was frightened and believed that someone had broken into the house. A bit annoyed I lurched downstairs, opened the living room door and there stood our opera singer with her boyfriend. “Merry Christmas!” they shouted gleefully. My mouth dropped in disbelief. I pinched myself to make sure it wasn’t I who was dreaming this time around. I knew that life could yield unexpected surprises but this one beat them all. It was the first time that she had come home for Christmas in 10 years, a gift from the stars, and the best Christmas gift I ever had.

Definitely a wonderful Christmas memory and I can imagine that the celebrations were fantastic.

I spent some time wondering what William might enjoy for his Christmas gift… and I hope that he will enjoy something from his home town. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with O Come O Come Emmanuel. Courtesy of Thomas Trimborn

The Sixth day (30th December) is dedicated to St Egwin of Worcester. Egwin was of noble if not royal blood and was born in the late 600’s and became a monk. Because of his lineage the royal court and hierarchy in the church pushed for his elevation to Bishop in in 693. He had strict moral code and was a benefactor for the poor and orphans. He was also very strict with worshippers and clergy alike and became increasingly unpopular when he began insisting that marriage vows should be taken seriously and that the clergy should be celibate… In the end tired of the resistance to his firm stance on these issues he took himself off to Rome to get the blessing of the Pope.

A number of ‘miracles’ occurred on the route and having received vindication from the Holy Father he returned to Evesham. He lived until between 917 and 920 bringing about many changes including founding Evesham Abbey which was one of the most important Benedictine Monasteries of medieval times. He died and was buried there but all was destroyed in the purges in the 16th century.

 

Six geese a laying – some say this symbolises the six days of creation but most assume it was a continuation in the bird theme from the Four Colley Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree…..

Time to meet my next guest, the delightful Annette Rochelle Aben – Annette has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Tell Me A Story with Annette Rochelle Aben | The Magic Happens (TMH)

Over the years, Annette has been blessed with having both hobbies and jobs that required her to write. This resulted in her winning the admiration of peers and industry professionals alike. Publication lead to awards, which provided even more encouragement and now, Annette Rochelle Aben is a #1 Best Selling Author! These days, Annette writes poetry books, coaches others through the writing of their books, and edits articles for the digital magazine The Magic Happens.

In the New Year Annette will be joining the team here with her own column Universal energy – Numerology and I am delighted to welcome her to the blog.

Annette shares her most treasured Christmas Gift

Seventeen years ago, at our Christmas gift exchange, I opened the lovingly wrapped package from my nephew Danny, to find a statue of a black cherub sitting on a cloud. I choked back tears because I knew he originally planned to give it to my mother, but she rejected the gift because Angels couldn’t possibly be anything other than white you know.

As I drove home, I hit an ice storm and what would have taken me 45 minutes, took me over 5 hours. The whole way, that Angel sat on my dashboard. I made it home safely.

Very difficult after that very special memory to find a gift that compares for Annette, but knowing her love of angels and music.. I hope that she enjoys one of my favourite tracks In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan

You can find all of Annette Rochelle Aben’s books: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY
Blog: www.annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com

Here is a selection of Annette’s books

booku_cover_for_kindle

A recent review for A Tanka Picture Book

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her. One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does. One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one: We found paradise Filled with rolling hills of green Houses so cozy Paths strewn with flowers fragrant Watercolor painted skies

Over the next few days I will be sharing some of the wonderful Christmas delicacies  that appeared on Carol Taylor’s Vegetarian Christmas Menu 

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favorite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

To Prepare

  1. Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

Enjoy!

And now my final guest today who also has a wonderful life of music and love. Jan Sikes is an Award Winning Author, screenwriter and songwriter. She began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

And here is Jan’s most favourite Christmas gift of all time

The best Christmas I can remember is 2003. Rick was just finishing the recording of his new music CD and he had a jacket monogrammed for me with the album cover on the back and my name in the front. I couldn’t have been more surprised or proud! That year all of our children, my mom and aunt came to our house for the celebration. There was an abundance of food, laughs and love. It is a sweet memory.

Another tough challenge to find a gift for Jan following that heartfelt memory… but I hope that this will make her smile and remind her of the first song that she wrote for her uncle. A wonderful Gospel Christmas.

Featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra again with The Pointer Sisters and  Adam L. McKnight..- Amen courtesy of Adam L. McKnight

You can find all of Jan’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK
Website: https://www.jansikes.com/

One of the reviews for Home at Last

Almost Home is the third book in this series and every bit as exciting as the first two books! Mrs. Sikes lets us into their lives, finally lived together, and their love that continues to grow! Ms. Sikes has written each novel with such depth of emotion that I felt virtually every feeling along with Darlina as I was reading! I spent plenty of time with tissues in hand! The pace was very steady and my attention never wavered. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t reach the end of each book fast enough to move on to the next!

It was a mesmerizing story from beginning to end! The story of Darlina (Jan Sikes) and Luke (Rick Sikes) is a love story for the ages and fraught with challenges seemingly every step of the way. This series is made more poignant for me by the fact that it is the true account of two people, fictionalized for the benefit of the author! I give Almost Home by Jan Sikes five cups of steaming hot Room With Books coffee and I highly recommend you read it!

Now time for something to drink…..Whilst it is customary to see cranberries in a sauce on the Christmas Dinner Table, you can also enjoy in a cocktail during the holiday period. Cranberries have a great many health benefits…. which might be slightly diluted when adding alcohol.. but here is a video that will give you a recipe to try.

Thank you for dropping in today and tomorrow my guests are Jessica Norrie and Marjorie Mallon… I hope you will join us.. thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #thrillers #short stories Luna Saint Claire, Jan Sikes and Kristina Stanley


Some more books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore that would make great gifts this Christmas, and the first is a psychological thriller The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire

About the book

Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.

Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.

“She realized in an instant that being around him awakened her, stirring the sediment that had long ago settled at the bottom of her well. He made her feel a part of him–of something larger, and somehow more alive.”

One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads

Ellen Weisberg‘s review Mar 11, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE SLEEPING SERPENT. The writing was excellent, vivid and detailed and effortlessly evoking empathy for each female character as they rapidly oscillated from intense passion to overt fear. I found the content very realistic and likely to be painfully relatable for anyone who has found themselves helplessly drawn to someone whose wants and needs come first and at all costs to those closest to them.

As an example, I could feel Olivia’s anguish after being abruptly dropped by Nico once she confided her news about the fellowship she had been awarded, and for the moment I was transformed into Olivia and experiencing her torment of being so sexually and emotionally attached to Nico that she was more than willing to give up her life’s dreams and aspirations to avoid losing him. And of course, Nico being Nico was unwilling to give her the option of having both her own life as well as a part of his, and no response to her final text was accompanied by her heart shattering into a thousand pieces.

Similarly, I was easily able to vicariously ride on the same rollercoaster as Sofia and Luna with Nico’s flattering sweetness and sensuality that would suddenly change to angry control and reprimand, sometimes insidiously interwoven with yet more sexual seduction that served to entice the women even further into his dangerous lair.

Luna Saint Claire and Virginia Bowen have created quite the fascinating page turner and eye opener that any woman with a breath and a pulse and who has found themselves under someone’s toxic, hypnotic spell can relate to.;

Read the many reviews for the book and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Serpent-womans-struggle-obsessive-ebook/dp/B016LUUB1K

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Serpent-womans-struggle-obsessive-ebook/dp/B016LUUB1K/

Discover more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14551692.Luna_Saint_Claire

Connect to Luna Saint Claire via her website: http://www.compelledbooks.com/

A recent review that would make a lovely gift is from award-winning author Jan Sikes with Two Shorts and a Snort

About Two Shorts and a Snort

This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:
How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:
Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Sometimes when you’re gifted an Amazon card, you become like a child of the 1950’s who’s just found a $5.00 bill in the street, and you head over to buy as much candy as you can. [Back then with most candies/gum costing less than a nickel, you got a good-sized bag loaded to the brim with this stuff.] This is how I felt getting a $25.00 card.

Usually, I wouldn’t have bought a short book like this, but like an adult kid, I went on a shopping spree for KINDLE books I wound up buying this book, a purchase which wound up not being a disappointment, but a wonderful find.

Being an author of Flash Fiction, I love being able to read stories which cuts to the chase, and gets the message it’s trying to communicate readers without wasting time with a lot of unnecessary verbiage. And author, Jan Sikes, succeeds in doing this quite well with OBSESSED and MAGGIE.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a guy whose got an fixation on having to marry you, and is going to unbelievable lengths in seeing that you’ll say YES to his proposal; then you’re in Nelda Sue’s shoes being confronted with Charlie Riddle being OBESSED with you and you knows precisely how she feels. As I did.

In regards to MAGGIE, anyone who has a child know it’s essentially a God-given gift. But what happens when despite numerous attempts at having one, nothing has resulted. If you can understand how a woman might feel when this happens, then you can step into Mary’s shoes and feel the elation she gets when her husband Jackson finds an abandoned baby and brings it home; if this isn’t a God-given gift for his finding the infant then what is?

For giving her readers these two delightful stories and a bonus poem, I’m glad to give Ms. Sikes, the 5 STARS she’s gotten from this reviewer.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DY8FSWL/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL

Also by Jan Sikes.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: http://www.jansikes.com

Now for a real treat… a boxed set from Kristina Stanley at an extremely attractive price for three of her popular novels – Stone Mountain Mystery Bundle.

About the Stone Mountain Series.

A majestic mountain resort in the middle of nowhere, a newly-appointed security officer and malicious killers make this trio of thrillers a roller-coaster ride through ice and snow…

DESCENT – Book 1

When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.

BLAZE – Book 2

Instead of exchanging vows, Kalin Thompson spends her wedding day running from a forest fire near Stone Mountain Resort, and the pregnant friend trapped with her has just gone into labor. Meanwhile, Kalin’s fiancé, Ben Timlin, hangs from the rafters of a burning building, fighting for his life. Can the situation get any hotter?

When the fire is declared as arson, finding the firebug responsible becomes Kalin’s personal mission. In the course of her investigation as Director of Security, she discovers that some people will go to extreme measures to keep her from exposing their secrets.

AVALANCHE – Book 3

On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.

The police and the president of the resort turn their sights on Kalin, who risks everything to covertly attempt to clear Roy’s name. As threats against her escalate, she moves closer to uncovering the guilty party. Is Kalin’s faith in her brother justified? Or will the truth destroy her?

One of the reviews for the series

Although Kristina Stanley says at the end of the novel that she wrote Avalanche first, this became the third book in the series. Having read and enjoyed the first two Stone Mountain mysteries, I recommend them all and suggest reading them in order. Once again, Kalin Thompson is the main protagonist, but characters from previous books return and previous incidents are cleverly referred adding to the backstory.

From the fast-moving opening when Kalin’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears, the plot twists and turns with enough clues and suspects to keep the reader thinking to the end.

There are multiple suspects when the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, but with Ray as the prime suspect, Kalin must act covertly to clear his name. How she handles her discoveries and her torn feelings about her brother’s guilt drive the main thread of the novel.

The story is tightly plotted, well-structured and, as I noted down while reading, it’s ‘edge of my snowmobile tense’. There are various suspects when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin investigating from Ray to Kalin via other employees at Stone Mountain Resort. I kept wondering, ‘Who will be next?’, ‘Who is guilty of what?’ and ‘Who do you trust?’. Not only Kalin needed to be wary but others caught up in the events as the threat level escalated.

The suspects were gradually narrowed down, although there were enough remaining as the end drew near. Plus, the accusations against Kalin were ongoing, adding to the tension. Twists kept coming, leading to the final confrontation that I only half-guessed in advance. Key elements were cleverly foreshadowed.

The author’s characterisation is excellent in that everyone has something to distinguish them – even the lift-girl from New Zealand. The reader sees the other characters through Kalin’s eyes and through other characters’ viewpoint. The use of various POVs enhances the story and adds to the subplots, diversions and to the red herrings that I always enjoy in a mystery.

The resort offers an evocative setting and Kristina Stanley’s knowledge of that world rings true without creating unnecessary detail. From my time in Canada and my winters skiing on different hills, Stone Mountain Resort and the intrigues came alive for me.

Avalanche was a fast-paced and easy read, and, as I’ve come to expect from Kristina Stanley, and from Imajin Books, it’s well-edited. A definite recommendation if you want a pacey mystery. But read Descent and Blaze first for maximum enjoyment – not vital but best.

Buy the boxed Set for just $7.32 : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075DK4864

And on Amazon UK for £2.35 : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mountain-Mystery-Bundle-Kristina-Stanley-ebook/dp/B075DK4864

Buy the novels individually and other books by Kristina Stanley.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I

Read more reviews and follow Kristina Stanley on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14130411.Kristina_Stanley

Connect to Kristina via her website/Blog: http://kristinastanley.com/blog/

 

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist #Music to get the Weekend Started – Requests from Annette Rochelle Aben, N.A. Granger, Jan Sikes, Judith Barrow and Darlene Foster


Since the beginning of this series, I have asked you to share your favourite music with links in the comments. I thought I would create a special playlist, sharing the track and link to the latest post of those requesting the song.

Annette Rochelle Aben has a music background and I would love to do a road trip with her… I am sure we would have a few laughs and plenty of sing-alongs. Her request was for Michael Franti and Spearhead. Michael Franti and Spearhead Amazon

The next request is from author N.A. (Noelle) Granger who has just posted details of her new historical novel…a departure from her murder mysteries. She has requested Private Dancer by Tina Turner – Buy the music here: Tina Turner Amazon

Next it is Jan Sikes, who too has a music background.. this song was new to me.. “So This is Life” by Courtney Patton and you can buy her music here. Courtney Patton Amazon

The next request comes from author Judith Barrow and is for Willie Nelson and The Traveling Wilburys. End of the Line from the album Roy Orbison Collected

 

The last track today is from children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster with a wedding song that brings a tear to her eye.. Anne Murray  – Can I have this Dance for the Rest of My Life  — one of my music idols.. and you can buy her music here: Anne Murray Amazon

 

My thanks to all those who requested their favourite tracks.. one more post next week and then back to the normal Friday posts. Thanks Sally.. keep singing and dancing...

Smorgasbord – Posts from Your Archives – What I Have Learned #65 by Jan Sikes


Here is a post from the archives of Jan Sikes from 2016.. when she turned 65.  Very appropriate as I will be too in a couple of weeks… will be interesting to compare notes.

What I Have Learned #65 by Jan Sikes

I am in the smack middle of my birthday week. I can’t remember exactly when I decided to celebrate for a week, but the idea stuck and now it is tradition.

This is a BIG birthday for me. I will be 65 years young on Sunday. Wow! Where did the years go?

turning_65_birthday_greeting_card-rbbcc388fc9bc45369869156a939cf9ab_xvuat_8byvr_512

So, I thought about some of the things I’ve learned in my 65 years of living. Perhaps there is one nugget in here that you will relate to or it will relate to you. 🙂

  • I’ve learned that nothing in life lasts forever and the more you hold onto something the harder it is to let go when it’s time.
  • I’ve learned the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
  • I’ve learned that Love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security.
  • I’ve learned that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises
  • I’ve learned to work on building my roads today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans.
  • I’ve learned that falling feels like flying for a little while.
  • I’ve learned that I can breathe through most any situation life brings my way.
  • I’ve learned that I have worth.
  • I’ve learned what unconditional love means.
  • I’ve learned that no matter what I may look like on the outside, inside I’m still the same thirty year old woman I knew thirty-five years ago..
  • I’ve learned the importance of nurturing my body because I want it to last longer.
  • I’ve learned to nurture my soul because that is where I find the peace and contentment that I crave.
  • But most of all, as the years fly by, I’ve learned the importance of grabbing every sweet ounce of today and embracing it because it is all fleeting.

life_begins_at_65th_birthday_rectangular_magnet-r82a71440e16643e4aa13b756b07795b8_am0uf_8byvr_324 I look forward to at least another 25 good years of healthy life ahead!!

 

lord-give-me-coffee-and-wine-serenity-prayer-by-ccwd-8.99

©Jan Sikes 2016

Thanks to Jan for another inspiring post that most of us of this age can relate to.

About Jan Sikes

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

Books by Jan Sikes.

One of the excellent reviews for Til Death Do Us Part.

Oct 30, 2017 D.L. Finn rated it Five Stars

This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book.

I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan

website: http://www.jansikes.com
Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

If you would like to join Jan and the other writers and submit posts from your archives here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Do What you Love by Jan Sikes


Today an inspirational piece by Jan Sikes, reminding us that however tough things might be there is usually a chink of light to give us something to be positive about.

Do What you Love by Jan Sikes

inspiration

I am thrilled it when inspirations come out of the blue. I have a feeling I will get lots of them living in my new place. But, I digress.

The thought I had was this, “Do what you love. Love what you do.”

“How?” you ask.

We all have to do things in life to put food on our tables that we aren’t particularly fond of, such as going to a thankless job. Maybe your boss is a jerk. Or perhaps your daily commute is grueling. There could be a myriad of negatives about the things we must do to survive.

But…instead of focusing on the negatives, what if we sought out the positives and focused on them instead. So, your boss is a jerk, but the receptionist that greets you each morning is always full of sunshine and smiling. And, yes, the daily commute is grueling, but what about that cool audio book you managed to read in a week just sitting in traffic? Or how about that awesome new song that came on the radio and made you turn up the volume?

2010-clip-art

Sometimes, it’s the little things. Maybe there aren’t any big positives to what you do that you can grasp, but as a wise man once said, “Littles make bigs.” By finding ways to love what we do, we free ourselves to do things we truly love. Writers find more time to write. Songwriters find time to compose new melodies. Families spend more time playing and less time arguing. It’s the proverbial domino effect.

By focusing on the aspects of life that we do love and less on the parts we don’t, the world instantly becomes a better place in which to live.

So, DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO!

Hugs, light and love sent to you.

love-light-hugs

©Jan Sikes

I am sure that this has inspired you too, as it has me. Thanks Jan.

About Jan Sikes

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

Books by Jan Sikes.

One of the excellent reviews for Til Death Do Us Part.

Oct 30, 2017 D.L. Finn rated it Five Stars

This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book.

I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan

website: http://www.jansikes.com
Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

If you would like to join Jan and the other writers and submit posts from your archives here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Achives – The Magic Bank Account by Jan Sikes


Jan Sikes introduces us to an interesting concept.. what would you do with an amazing prize win? Jan explores our options.

The Magic Bank Account by Jan Sikes.

Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest:

Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has rules:

The set of rules:

  1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.
  2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
  3. You may only spend it.
  4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
  5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say, “Game Over!” It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for.

Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right?

You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?

ACTUALLY, This GAME is REAL…

Shocked ???

YES!

Each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE*. We just can’t seem to see it.

The PRIZE is *TIME*

  • Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
  • And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us.
  • What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.
  • Yesterday is forever gone.
  • Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING…

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.

Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start “spending”….

Hourglass

DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT GROWING OLD…!

SOME PEOPLE DON’T GET THE PRIVILEGE! 

©Jan Sikes 2016.

I think you will agree that Jan has given us all something to think about..Thank you Jan..

About Jan Sikes

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

Books by Jan Sikes.

One of the excellent reviews for Til Death Do Us Part.

Oct 30, 2017 D.L. Finn rated it Five Stars

This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book.

I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan

website: http://www.jansikes.com
Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

If you would like to join Jan and the other writers and submit posts from your archives here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – JAN’s TOP TEN Best Books for 2016 by Jan Sikes


Jan Sikes shares her post from the end of 2016 where she showcased some of the books she had read.. they say good books are timeless and so I think it is well worth resharing the post as these books are still as good as they were a year ago.

JAN’s TOP TEN Best Books for 2016 by Jan Sikes

Because I have read SO many fantastic books this year, I want to share with you the ones I enjoyed the most. Almost ALL of the amazing books on this list were written by Indie Authors!  Just click the cover to buy.

#1 Pennies From Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay

I had no trouble choosing the #1 book of the year for me. For months after I’d finished reading this one, it continued to haunt me. That, my friends, is the sign of a great story!

It is a gripping tale of an eleven-year-old homeless girl, Copper Penny who has lived on the streets with her mother for years. Their “home” is in the cemetery under an Angel statue. Copper awakes one morning to find her mother gone. She can’t find her anywhere and her search takes her into some scary, dangerous and gritty situations. You can read my full review here.

#2 To Love a Texas Ranger by Linda Broday

texas-ranger-finalI didn’t choose this book to sit at #2 because Linda Broday is my sister. I chose it because it is such a HUGE story and the introduction to the Men of Legend Series. Stoker Legend has two sons (as far as he knows) and all he ever wanted was for them to help him run one of the largest ranches in Texas, The Lonestar Ranch. But, Sam Legend, has other desires and wants no roots. He is a hard-as-nails Texas Ranger but, a gang of outlaws hangs him and leaves him for dead. After a mysterious man saves his life, he is forced to return to the Lonestar to recuperate. What happens along the way will have you on the edge of your seat! You can read my full review here.

#3 Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D’Chae

Shadow of the DrillThis is not a genre I normally read, but I was certainly glad I stepped out of my norm and picked up this book. The characters lingered with me long after I’d finished reading the last page. I couldn’t put it down as the story unfolded. Decker, The Drill, is hardened, tough and ruthless. He’s taken on the role of judge, juror and executioner and is on a mission to get revenge for an injustice that won’t stop haunting him. You can read my full review here.

#4 A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair

I love character driven stories and this book by Mae Clair fits that description. When Eve Parrish returns to Point Pleasant to settle her aunt’s estate, she is in for more than one surprise. The story is based around a tragic bridge collapse that had happened when Eve was just a child. Many lives were lost including her father’s and her best friend. To cope with the loss, Eve’s mother moved them away and this is the first time she’s returned since the tragedy. I will tell you that this book has everything – romance, strong characters, paranormal, murder and a mythical creature. You can read my full review here.

#5 Lodestone Book 1 (Witch Hunt) by Wendy Scott

LodestoneI love paranormal books and was drawn into this one from page one. I couldn’t stop until I reached the end, and even then, I wanted it to continue. I hope that Wendy Scott is writing a sequel to this book…I will be watching for it. Sabrina has been at the ‘Healing School’ since she was a very small child. She finds herself thrown into chaos at her graduation when she learns she is the direct descendant of Lauren, a woman who is considered evil. She is given a diary, written in Lauren’s own hand, along with a sliver of stone, and is told she must leave the school. Now it is up to Sabrina to unravel the mystery surrounding Lauren’s Order and end its reign of terror. You can read my full review here.

#6 Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks

A+ Jazz Baby 2 Front CoverThis is a coming-of-age story about Emily Ann “Baby” Teagarten, who can sing. She has one dream and that is to be on the big stage singing Jazz. When she loses both of her parents within a few short months, the man who takes her under his wing seems to be the answer to her dream. But, as we continue through the story, we see the selfish motives of everyone who claims to want to help her. This is another character-driven book and the tragedies that “Baby” had to endure were heart-wrenching to say the least. You can read my full review here.

#7 Daydream’s Daughter/Nighmare’s Friend by Nonnie Jules

daydreams-daughter-coverThis is a story of unimaginable abuse which eventually leads to murder. My heart broke for this young girl who suffered so much. There seemed to be no escape for her even in adulthood. As the story unfolds, Nonnie takes us inside scenarios that are unfortunately, all too common and all too real in life. You can read my full review here

#8 His Revenge by John Howell

This is the second book in the John Cannon series and again, is not my normal genre to read. However, I loved this book. It is gripping, full of adventure, danger and a high stakes game that can bring this country to its knees. John Cannon, the main character, stumbles into this story simply by chance and where it takes him will keep you on the edge of your seat! You can read my full review here.

#9 Jem by Michelle Abbott

jemThe scars of abuse run deep from childhood to adulthood and Jem carries those scars physically and mentally. All he’s known is hatred and pain except for one, his angel, whose kindness he could never forget. He’s tough and determined not to take any crap from anyone. When his “angel” shows up in the oceanside town where he lives, how can he let her know that he’s never forgotten? This is a gripping romance with plenty of hardcore action to keep you turning the pages. You can read my full review here

#10 Novy’s Son – The Selfish Genius by Karen Ingalls

I gave this story a five star review and believe that every young man, as they come of age, should be required to read it. Murray Clark, the selfish genius, is destined to be a victim his entire life because he never takes responsibility for his own actions. Karen Ingalls takes us through nine decades with Murray’s story and she does it in such a way that the reader never loses interest. She refers to the “Iron John” philosophy throughout the book which turns out to be a story written by Robert Ely as a sort of guide book on how to be a man. Novy’s Son is a MUST READ for all young men! You can read my full review here.

I cannot end this list of amazing books without mentioning one more.

Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings (Author Tools Book 1) by Nicholas Rossis

This book is an invaluable resource and reference book for all writers. Because of the way our brains are wired, readers empathize more strongly if you don’t name the emotion you are trying to describe. As soon as you name an emotion, readers go into thinking mode. And when they think about an emotion, they distance themselves from feeling it.

A great way to show anger, fear, indifference, and the whole range of emotions that characterize the human experience, is through beats. These action snippets that pepper dialogue can help describe a wide range of emotions, while avoiding lazy writing. The power of beats lies in their innate ability to create richer, more immediate, deeper writing.

This book includes hundreds of examples that you can use for your inspiration, so that you, too, can harness this technique to easily convert your writing into palpable feelings.

Well, there you have it. I enjoyed these and many more books throughout the year and all but two of these authors I discovered through the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! It pays to belong!

©Jansikes 2016

My thanks to Jan for sharing her selection of great reads from 2016 and I hope you will add to your collection.

Books by Jan Sikes

This is the fourth book in her series that follows the life of Texas Musician Luke Stone.  Based on the compelling true story of Rick and Jan Stone.

About Til Death Do Us Part

Veteran Texas musician, Luke Stone, has cheated death more times then he cares to remember. He’s been everything from a simple farm boy to a rowdy roughneck, a singing star to a convict and finally a husband and father whose goals consisted of building a home and raising a family…which he did. Now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows the sand in his hourglass is running thin.

His anchor in life and true love, Darlina, stands at his side determined to help make the dream a reality. But, his aging body is sabotaging every effort and the only thing that keeps him going is sheer will power and the love he has for Darlina. When faced with being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Luke draws on every resource to continue to function and contribute to their home and to society.

This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them. Will fate allow Luke to sing his last song?

One of the excellent reviews for the book

I would like to take a moment to say, Jan Sikes is a ROCK STAR. I had the pleasure of meeting Jan in the Fall of 2016 at a musical festival. I didn’t know who Jan was. All I knew was she showed up behind stage everywhere me and my friend, a photographer, was. At lunch, we sat down with Jan, and I was introduced to her and was told she was a writer for Buddy Magazine. My first thought of Jan was; what a poised, soft spoken lady.

After leaving that day, I looked up Buddy Magazine because I am a huge country music lover and everything that goes with it. I especially love Texas music. In my search for Buddy Magazine, I stumbled upon Jan. I was amazed at who I had met. I had no idea this lady, just another person at the festival was an author … was so full of a history, yet so humble. I wanted to know more about Jan. I read everything I could and that led me to Jan’s first book of her series about her and her now deceased husband, Rick Sikes.

I read the first book, Flowers and Stone in awe. I could have been reading a book about my life in a round about way. I could relate in so many ways, yet so different. Jan pulled in me with her amazing style of writing and sharing her story of a once-in-a-lifetime love story that so few will ever even get the chance to experience. I finished the fourth book, Til Death Do Us Part just last night and I need more.

I need to know the rest of Jan’s life through her writing … Life After Death. I love to read and even though I don’t get enough opportunities to read, I like to read true stories. Jan’s LIFE WITH RICK, aka, LUKE STONE is a MUST read. I can promise you, there is not a page in any of the four books in the series that you will want to take your eyes off of. I feel Jan had laid her life out in the pages and even though only four books can’t come close to reaching the time span of their life, you feel as if you know them and even in a strange way that you lived it with them.

Kudos to Jan for such an amazing series, for the bravery to put down on paper; the love, the life and the ending of her and Rick’s love journey. Even though a person moves from this life to another, they are still with us everyday in many ways and a love and a memory that lasts a lifetime. Like I said, Jan Sikes is a ROCK STAR.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Til-Death-Do-Us-Part/dp/0990617947

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Til-Death-Do-Us-Part/dp/0990617947

Also by Jan Sikes

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: https://www.jansikes.com/

Thanks for dropping in today and as always your feedback is welcomed. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Sandra J. Jackson, Jan Sikes and John W. Howell


Welcome to the first of the review posts this week and the first author celebrating is Sandra J. Jackson with a new review for Promised Souls.

About the book

Just as Krista’s summer plans are finalized, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu. Feeling as though she’s losing her mind, she visits a psychic medium, only to feel more confused. When Krista arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic; she needs clarity. Finally, the words she was afraid to say out loud, are spoken. Now Krista has to figure out what it all means. Promised Soul is the story of the past, the present, and the future of two souls that have been bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Fantastic! on November 9, 2017

I so did not want this story to end! What a conflict I went through while reading this, I was a mad woman obsessed with finding it what happened next and at the same time I didn’t want it to be over. Ever!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B00UY0PVSC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B00UY0PVSC

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read many more reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her website: http://www.sandrajjackson.com

The next review is for Jan Sikes and the fourth book in her series that follows the life of Texas Musician Luke Stone.  Based on the compelling true story of Rick and Jan Stone.

About Til Death Do Us Part

Veteran Texas musician, Luke Stone, has cheated death more times then he cares to remember. He’s been everything from a simple farm boy to a rowdy roughneck, a singing star to a convict and finally a husband and father whose goals consisted of building a home and raising a family…which he did. Now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows the sand in his hourglass is running thin.

His anchor in life and true love, Darlina, stands at his side determined to help make the dream a reality. But, his aging body is sabotaging every effort and the only thing that keeps him going is sheer will power and the love he has for Darlina. When faced with being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Luke draws on every resource to continue to function and contribute to their home and to society.

This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them. Will fate allow Luke to sing his last song?

A recent review for the book

Highly Recommend! on October 30, 2017

This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book. I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Til-Death-Do-Us-Part/dp/0990617947

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Til-Death-Do-Us-Part/dp/0990617947

Also by Jan Sikes

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: https://www.jansikes.com/

Another excellent review for the recent release by John W. Howell… Circumstances of Childhood.

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.

One of the recent reviews

Impeccable! on October 28, 2017

For me, this book is impeccable on a number of fronts… First and foremost, John Howell knows how to reach a reader’s emotions, how to build a character with whom one can really identify, how to recognize on occasion some parts of yourself, how to bring smiles, how to bring tears; Mr. Howell enlivens the pages of this book with events that make one believe he is actually re-living some of his own life.

I liked everything about this book, the football, the friendship, the treatment of death of someone close, the alleged business illegality, the blackmail… I took a break from reading a book of titillating short stories (review coming) and started “Circumstances of Childhood’ — long and short of it, I could not stop reading until late in the night (plus, I’m a slow reader because I love words and how they’re put together). I’m thinking the book touched some parts of my life, and, that made it all the more enjoyable for me… Treat yourself to a great read!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR/

Also by John W. Howell.

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and find our more about John W. Howell: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John via his website: http://www.johnhowell.com

Thank you for helping celebrate these reviews for such talented writers. Please spread the news. Thanks Sally