Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – October 22nd 2019 – Audrey Driscoll #Peeves – Janice Spina #Children – D.G. Kaye #MovieReview


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

The first post is from Audrey Driscoll, who probably speaks for most of us when it comes to the little niggles in life that drive us crazy… I am sure Audrey would love to hear what niggles peeve you the most!

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Ten Little Things That Bug Me

A while ago, I wrote a post complaining about parking lot design. It was going to be the first of a series of grumbles. Since then I’ve realized that writing a string of posts whining about “first world problems” isn’t the best use of my blogging time. So I’ve bundled all the small things that bug me into one post.

This one.

These are low-level annoyances that regularly make me say “Why…?” They’re things — poorly-designed physical objects, not human behaviour. Many aspects of human behaviour (individual and collective) bug me, and many more sadden and enrage. Maybe I’ll get into some of them in future posts. For now, I’m sweating the small stuff.
Such as…

  • Noisy yard machines. Sometimes my corner of suburbia sounds like a war zone with competing roars from lawn mowers, string trimmers, and leaf blowers.
  • Scented dryer sheets and laundry soaps. Nose-twisting synthetic “perfumes” with names like “April Fresh” and “Mountain Breeze” wafting from dryer vents in the neighbourhood. And I’m not even allergic!

Head over and read and enjoy the rest of the list and add your own notes: https://audreydriscoll.com/2019/10/20/things-that-bug-me-the-complete-list/

Audrey Driscoll, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Audrey-Driscoll/e/B00J7X7QVC
Blog: http://audreydriscoll.com   Goodreads: Audrey on Goodreads

To view all of Audrey’s books please visit her Amazon page.

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The next post is from children’s and thriller writer Janice Spina on the subject of getting children to read. She asks Are Books Better than Tablets for Children? In my view, anything that gets a child to read is great, but that a print book for a child is a treasure that they will keep and look at frequently..

Are Books Better than Tablets for Children?

This is an excellent question as today’s technology is so important to all of us. I read an interesting and informative post, Study: Books May Foster Bonding Better Than Tablets by Linda Carroll that was published in New Hampshire Union Leader on October 1, 2019.

Here are some excerpts from this excellent post: Parents and children both appear more engaged when stories are read from a book, researchers say.

Toddlers appear to be much more engaged with their parents when stories are read to them from books rather than digital tablets, a new study finds.

It may be that when parents and toddlers engage over a tablet, it might be harder for them to have moments of connection, said Dr. Tiffany Munzer, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who led the study.

Head over and find out more about the study and add your views in the comments: https://jemsbooks.blog/2019/10/07/are-books-better-than-tablets-for-children

Janice Spina, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG
Blog: http://jemsbooks.wordpress.comGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7222888.Janice_Spina

Please visit Amazon or Janice’s blog to view all her books for adults and children.

And finally a five star film review from D.G.Kaye (Debby Gies) for Ladies in Black, set in an Australian department store in the late 1950s. I watched the film some time ago and loved it and can add my recommendation to Debby’s.

Available on Amazon

Sunday Movie Review with D.G. Kaye – Ladies in Black

It’s Sunday Book Review time, and once again, I’m sneaking in a movie I recently watched – Ladies in Black, written by Madeline St. John. This movie is a story that takes place in the 1959 era, where women’s jobs consisted mostly of being a secretary or working in retail sales. The movie depicts the lives of 4 women who work in Goode’s Department store in Sydney, Australia at a time where European migration changes the landscape of Australia with cultural changes, a mixing of class structure, and the rise of Women’s Liberation.

Head over to find out more about the movie and Debby’s review: https://dgkayewriter.com/sunday-movie-review-with-d-g-kaye-ladies-in-black

D. G. Kaye – Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Catch up with Debby’s Travel Column here every month: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye/

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – Janice Spina, Marian Beaman and Marcia Meara


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

Delighted to share one of the recent reviews for the new release by Janice Spina.  Abby & Holly series book 3 – Secrets of the Trunk

About the book

Join Abby and Holly in Book 3 as the cousins discover a new presence in their old Victorian while they are cleaning out the library of old books. They are not sure if this specter is benign or otherwise. This being leads them to the old trunk they discovered in Book 2 which holds many secrets and puzzles that they feel compelled to solve.

They enlist the help of their ghost friend, Felicity, who inhabits their home. She is a benevolent entity that once lived in their house from a century ago. She watches over the girls and vows never to leave them unless they request her to do so.

There will be surprises and ghostly visits that will keep readers enthralled as Abby and Holly work together to uncover the secrets of the trunk.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Michelle Clements James 5.0 out of 5 stars The story book instills life lessons September 6, 2019

This is a skillfully written story that logically follows Book 2 in the series. Abby and Holly are determined to solve the mystery of the old trunk and elicit the help of their ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva. When things get a bit out of hand and turn dangerous, the girls turn to their moms and to Abby’s dad for help.

Abby and Holly are typical young middle-grade girls who are adventurous, sweet, kindhearted, and thoughtful. Their ghost friends are helpful and caring. All the characters are well-drawn and believable, that is unless you don’t believe in ghosts.

As with all the author’s children’s books, this book instills life lessons, especially that everyone should treat all others with respect. The life lessons introduced in Secrets of the Trunk are how to handle the unexpected and how to overcome disappointments.

I loved this book, as I have all the other middle-grade books by Janice Spina. I recommend it as a book for your middle-grade child to read by themselves or as a book you’ll read together.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Abby-Holly-Book-Secrets-Trunk/dp/1732528829

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Abby-Holly-Book-Secrets-Trunk/dp/1732528829

A very small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy  https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG

Find more reviews and follow Janice on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7222888.Janice_Spina

Connect to Janice via her blog: http://Jemsbooks.blog

Now another excellent review for Marian Beaman.. a memoir – Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl released earlier in September.

About the book

What if the Mennonite life young Marian Longenecker chafed against offered the chance for a new beginning? What if her two Lancaster County homes with three generations of family were the perfect launch pad for a brighter future? Readers who long for a simpler life can smell the aroma of saffron-infused potpie in Grandma’s kitchen, hear the strains of four-part a capella music at church, and see the miracle of a divine healing.

Follow the author in pigtails as a child and later with a prayer cap, bucking a heavy-handed father and challenging church rules. Feel the terror of being locked behind a cellar door. Observe the horror of feeling defenseless before a conclave of bishops, an event propelling her into a different world.

Fans of coming-of-age stories will delight in one woman’s surprising path toward self-discovery, a self that lets her revel in shiny red shoes.

One of the recent reviews for the memoir

Mennonite Daughter is a beautifully written story about the growing up life and aspirations of one feisty and longing-to-be fancy girl who although practicing her faith obediently, longs to be free from some of the conforms of the Mennonite lifestyle.

Beaman, a girl, not unlike any other girlie girl, striving for her chance at a life free from head coverings and traditional clothing, as her desires since childhood grow to break free from tradition. We learn a lot about the Mennonite way of life, Beaman’s life, the close knit family and community life, and the antiquated punishments inflicted on her by her father, and about the mother who never interjected on those punishments, all because she spoke out for her convictions. The whippings and being locked in a dark, scary basement were the weapons of choice as punishments and discipline for her non-compliance in a world of which we’d now consider as child abuse. One heart trembling sentence that stood out to me, “I always watched for signs that Daddy was about to explode, so I wonder why I didn’t stop before I ignite the fire.” We’ll learn once again, as many writers like myself have lived and wrote about, if we search for the ‘why’ in someone’s behavior, we’ll almost always find the root cause.

Read the early reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XL5FPW6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07XL5FPW6

Read more reviews and follow Marian on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19169570.Marian_Longenecker_Beaman

Connect to Marian via her blog: https://marianbeaman.com.

And the final author today is Marcia Meara with a recent review for That Darkest Place (Riverbend Book 3)

About the book

In Book 3 of her popular Riverbend series, Marcia Meara, author of Wake-Robin Ridge, A Boy Named Rabbit,and Harbinger, takes another look at the lives of the Painter brothers—Jackson, Forrest, and Hunter. While Hunter is home again and on the mend, the same isn’t true for his oldest brother. Jackson’s battle has just begun.

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.

One of the recent reviews of the book

The third book of the Riverbend series focuses primarily on Painter brothers, Jackson and Forrest, though youngest brother Hunter, is still a strong presence in his unique and quiet way. I fell in love with his character in book two.

At the end of Finding Hunter, Jackson was behaving horribly—lashing out at those around him, physically and verbally abusive. He ended up in a car accident believed to be the result of drunk driving. In That Darkest Place, the truth of what really took place and why is quickly revealed. Once brought to light, Jackson’s long road to recovery begins.

Once again, Meara tackles some weighty issues, but the most powerful theme is the unshakable bond of family, specifically brothers. Forrest and Hunter are not about to let Jackson muddle through on his own. Presenting a united front, they eventually have Jackson back to functioning almost normally again. Along the way there are physical and emotional hurdles to overcome, but there are also heartwarming and humorous moments to offset the weightier scenes.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072LCVP6M

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B072LCVP6
 

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Marcia-Meara/e/B00EUCXRU4

And Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marcia-Meara/e/B00EUCXRU4

Read more reviews and follow Marcia Meara on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242441.Marcia_Meara

Connect to Marcia via her website: http://marciamearawrites.com/

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update -#Reviews Sue Vincent, Janice Spina, Christoph Fischer and Teri Polen


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

The first author today is Sue Vincent with a recent review for Sword of Destiny.

About Sword of Destiny

“…and the swords must be found and held by their bearers lest the darkness find a way into the heart of man. Ask the waters to grant guidance and tell the ancient Keeper of Light that it is time to join battle for the next age.” Rhea Marchant heads north to the wild and beautiful landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales where she is plunged into an adventure that will span the worlds. The earth beneath her feet reveals its hidden life as she and her companions are guided by the ancient Keeper of Light in search of artefacts of arcane power. With the aid of the Old Ones and the merry immortal Heilyn, the company seek the elemental weapons that will help restore hope to an unbalanced world at the dawn of a new era.”

A recent review for the book

An amputation of the soul
So dark, so final, yet I understand it.
I love the way you became a priest
Absolving Merlin of the sins written about him
None of which I believed
Arthurs birth is better told without the sting of rape
Robed in rainbows, like moonlight on water, FAB
I didn’t so much read this book as eat my way through it…

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sword-Destiny-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B00F2HDM7Y

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sword-Destiny-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B00F2HDM7Y

A selection of books by Sue Vincent and with Stuart France

Read the reviews and buy the books from the following links: UKUSAFranceGermany

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6551588.Sue_Vincent

Connect to Sue via her blog: https://scvincent.com/

The next author with a recent review is Janice Spina for the latest adventure of Davey & Derek Jr. Detectives The Case of the Missing Bells.

About The Case of the Missing Bells

Step into another magical and fun adventure with the twin detectives to solve this new mystery. There are clues at every turn, ghostly dreams with strange messages, and a surprise visitor that shakes things up. Even Aunt Gigi and Mianna are at a loss to provide any assistance to the boys.

Will Davey & Derek be able to solve this mystery of the bells? Where do they turn? Will they be able to put all the clues together? Can they use their new birthday gifts in this adventure? Find out what the boys do in this magical mystery.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Janice Spina’s new book “The Case of the Mystery Bells” Davey and Derek’s Mystery Book 6, is another entertaining, wonderful story. This time the twins, Davey and Derek work diligently to solve the mystery of the bells. Why to they hear bells at certain times? Who are the ghosts in their dreams? Why do the boys hear bells in their dreams? Even their gifted Aunt Gigi is baffled from time to time. The boys are introduced to a new member of the family and they even learn more about their ancestry. Young readers are sure to enjoy this story and marvel at the literary skills of its author, Janice Spina. I highly recommend this story.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Case-Mystery-Bells-Junior-Detectives-ebook/dp/B07QWZZHJN

And on Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07QWZZHJN

A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy  https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG

Find more reviews and follow Janice on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7222888.Janice_Spina

Connect to Janice via her website: https://Jemsbooks.com

The next author with a recent review is Christoph Fischer and his book Ludwika.

About Ludwika

It’s World War II and Ludwika Gierz, a young Polish woman, is forced to leave her family and go to Nazi Germany to work for an SS officer. There, she must walk a tightrope, learning to live as a second-class citizen in a world where one wrong word could spell disaster and every day could be her last. Based on real events, this is a story of hope amid despair, of love amid loss . . . ultimately, it’s one woman’s story of survival.

One of the recent reviews for the book

1 April 2019

Once again, Fischer shows such talent for bringing history to life, with this based-on-fact novel about the survival of a young Polish woman during WW2. Taking the small details he could find, the author weaves them into a story by adding fictional characters, delivering a page-turning experience that showcases his style and skill.

From a peaceful life on a Polish farm, to near slave labour in far-off Germany, we follow the trials and tribulations that beset our young heroine during the long years of that war. And to round it off, we also get to find out what really happened to her, later in life.

This combination works so well, giving us completely believable characters, authentic locations, and set around the cataclysmic events that rocked Europe from 1939, until well after the end of hostilities. Recommended unreservedly, this is a book for everyone to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ludwika-Polish-Struggle-Survive-Germany/dp/1519539118

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ludwika-Polish-Struggle-Survive-Germany-ebook/dp/B018UTHX7A

A selection of books also by Christoph Fischer.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ

Read more reviews and follow Christoph on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Connect to Christoph via his website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

And last but not least….time for some Science Fiction/Fantasy from Teri Polen with The Gemini Connection which has received a recent review.

About The Gemini Connection.

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is. On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing. A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

One of the recent reviews for the book

The Gemini Connection is a most intriguing book which weaves the human emotions of frustration, anger, jealousy, resentment, self depreciation and love like colourful threads through the greater fabric of an exciting and unique science fiction novel.

The book features twins who live in a futuristic dystopian world where the inhabitants of the planet have exhausted many of its resources and what remains is being decimated by unknown and untreatable diseases. Scientists and other clever and inventive people, who are able to contribute towards findings solutions for the salvation of a society that is in the process of failing, are held up as heroes and are the recipients of accolades for their societal contributions as well as better food and lifestyles. The twins parents fall into this category and, at the beginning of the story, spend all their time and energy on saving their people and planet. This complete change in their focus from their family and two sons to the quest for glory in the guise of saving their planet changes life significantly for Simon and Evan. The backstory of their evolution into scientists, obsessed with their work, and the related increasing disdain for ordinary people who are not able to contribute towards saving the planet in the same way due to different talents and aspirations, is an important theme of the story and sets the scene for the unfortunate events that come to pass in the book.

Simon has a brilliant mind and is following in the footsteps of his illustrious parents. Evan is not as intellectual and demonstrates more physical and sporty gifts. This makes Simon the child of their parents dreams and Evan the disappointing child they cannot relate to or understand. This attitude by their parents results in Evan becoming a young man who lacks confidence and belief in himself and who feels inferior to his cleverer brother. Despite this unfortunate home environment, Simon and Evan are very close and share a unique bond that enables them to both “feel” the other’s presence and emotional state. When Simon disappears soon after discovering a sordid and dark secret by one of his mentors in his job, Evan feels responsible and sets off on a path of emotional self destruction. However, Evan has a talent of his own which enables him to access the minds of other people and help them sort out their chaotic thoughts. This talent gives him to tools track down and help save his brother but it also serves as the gateway to his own possible destruction. Will Evan be able to detect their joint enemies and stop their evil plans in time to save his brother and return him home? I enjoyed this book’s fresh take on a science fiction story.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Gemini-Connection-Teri-Polen/dp/1684330343/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gemini-Connection-Teri-Polen-ebook/dp/B07BFGFN66/

Also by Teri Polen

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Teri-Polen-ebook/dp/B01NBIFRF4

Read more reviews and follow Teri on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen

Connect to Teri via her website: https://teripolen.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books under your arm… You can find all the authors and how to join them in this post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/