Sally’s Drive Time Playlist #Music to get your Weekend Started – Requests from Jacquie Biggar, John Rieber, Judy E. Martin and Janice Spina.

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.

Next week I am back in the driving seat with more tracks that are on my personal playlist and some of the background behind them.

Jacquie Biggar is clearly a romantic musical fan and she has requested this track from 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, which was watched many times when I was growing up. If you love romance, you will enjoy Jacquie’s blog and books…

Janice Spina has requested another classic musical favourite with Singing in the Rain with Gene Kelly.. here is an excerpt from the film. Janice is an award winning children’s author and also writes as J.E. Spina for adults.

John Rieber – enjoys all music but mentioned E.L.O (Electric Light Orchestra) and since I  can tell that the Flash Mob videos are popular.. here is All Over the World with a tribute to the Mobbers and a not to John’s travels.

Judy E. Martin is a humourist and poet, who sees the irreverent side of life…head over and enjoy her gardening poetry… She is also clearly an optimist!  As she has chosen In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry…hahaha.


Hopefully by the time you read this the sun will be shining, especially as we have the Royal Wedding tomorrow.. Enjoy your weekend, and next week back to the regular Drive-Time Playlist, and another chance for you to add your requests to the comments. Thanks Sally




Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Meet the #BookReviewers – Balroop Singh, D. G. Kaye, Colleen Chesebro, N.N.Light, Janice Spina, Lizanne Lloyd and Mark Paxson

This series is aimed at promoting those that review books regularly. Especially those who do so via their blogs as it would be great to create more traffic to their sites. I am happy to also showcase those that are put directly on Amazon. The details are here in this first post with an example..

The series is already evolving as predicted and we will just see where it goes.

  • If you click the images of the books you will be taken directly to Amazon.
  • Where an author or reviewer is in the Cafe and Bookstore I will include their entry.
  • If a review has been posted to Amazon directly without a blog post, I will share the entire review with a link to the reviewers blog.

The first review is by Balroop Singh for a volume of poetry ‘Into the Hearth’– by Wendy E. Slater. It was posted direct to Amazon so I will share the entire review.

Profound and brilliant anthology of poems on April 20, 2018

Into the Hearth by Wendy E. Slater is a poetic journey into self, a comment on self-discovery from flame to love to home and hearth. Though it has been marked as spiritual poetry but it addresses the most basic truths connected with life, probably suggesting that spirituality begins from within. Hurts merge with reconciliation, as “your absence means neither anything nor everything,” yet “I will always sing to your heart and you mine.” Emotions recede like waves, get restored in the heart, where they ebb and discover a new path, sometimes taking solace in the superficial sounds.

Slater’s poems have to be read gently to discern their depth. The imagery is drawn from the universe…waves, stars, moon, music are mere instruments that ignite the fire to understand our harmony with the blue and the green, into which our souls would merge one day.

From the softness of lotus that unfolds slowly to “Sahara, all me” – are the symbols of the struggle with passion and solitude, eventually arriving at only one conclusion…“There can no attachment, it’s all within.” This is a brilliant anthology of poems and I would recommend it to all poetry lovers.

Balroop Singh, Buy:


Now time to showcase D.G. Kaye who as many of you know is a non-fiction author who writes thought provoking and heartwarming memoirs. She also has a Sunday Review spot and this week she reviewed Writing Hard Stories by Melanie Brooks.

Today’s book review is on memoir writer, Melanie Brooks’ book – Writing Hard Stories. I always try to read a book on my craft in between reading other genres I enjoy too. I was drawn to this book, not only for its whimsical cover (covers do attract), but for the content of the book, which is a series of interviews the author conducted with other more well known memoir writers. Brooks was searching for the heart of why and how each writer goes about writing their memoirs – what inspires them, how they get over the tough parts to write, overcoming fears of featuring people in their lives and how their work will be accepted.

Head over and read the rest of Debby’s review: D.G. Kaye Review Writing Hard Stories

D. G. Kaye – Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Debby’s blog to view all her books.

The next review is by Colleen Chesebro who is a prolific and much respected reviewer of books and never fails to do a book and its author justice. This week she reviewed the latest book from the poet Annette Rochelle Aben – A Haiku Perspective 2018.

Here is an extract from the review and if you click the cover it will take you to Amazon to buy.

American Poet, Annette Rochelle Aben has created a dynamic collection of syllabic poetry and prose that shouts out her unique perspective on everyday life. Her poetry is filled with humor and pathos expressed through various forms of Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka formats covering a wide range of topics.

Aben’s talent lies in her deep understanding of the human psyche expressed through poetic bursts of emotion that reach out and grab the reader. One of the most powerful verses is called, Absolution:


If I let you see
Some parts of my history
Would they set me free
Wiping clean the deeds
See flowers disguised as weeds

Head over and read the rest of the poem and the review from Colleen: Colleen Chesebro’s review of A Haiku Perspective 2018

Colleen Chesebro, Buy:


Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy:

Please visit Annette’s blog or Amazon to view all her books.


The next review is from N.N. Light’s Book Haven for Twilight’s Encore – Wounded Hearts #3 by USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar.

Here is an extract from the review.

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

My Review:

What is it about the town of Tidal Falls that makes me yearn for the next book by Jacquie Biggar? Could it be the larger-than-life men and their penchant for attracting danger? Could it be the strong-willed women who love their men, not caring if their life is in peril? Whatever it is, I love it!

Katy’s come home to Tidal Falls to get married in the soon-to-be restored Twilight Theatre (owned by her father). When she meets the contractor, Ty Garrett, time stands still. Ty, her first love, stands between her and the wedding she desperately craves. Working in such close proximity is a recipe for disaster, considering how they went down in flames years ago

Head over and read the rest of this excellent review:  N.N. Light’s Review for Twilight’s Encore by Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar, Buy:

Please visit Jacquie’s Amazon page of website to view all her books.

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The next review is from author Janice Spina for the wonderful book No More Mulberries by Mary Smith. Janice is an award winning children’s author with other books for adult readers and is a huge supporter of authors in her community. I can also highly recommend this book.

The review for the book by Janice Spina

No More Mulberries is more than just a love story but a tale of hardship, loss, survival against all odds, and the importance of family. It is a story about two people who are different as any two can be. Miriam, from Scotland meets Jawad, an Afghan, and fall in love. She moves to his country and begins a love affair with Afghanistan.

When Jawad suffers an untimely death Miriam must decide whether to go back to her own homeland of Scotland with her son or stay. She meets another Afghan man, Iqbal, and sees a way to stay in this country with her son.

The cultural differences are numerous and difficult for the couple to overcome. They must come to terms with complicated problems in her new husband’s past in order to continue with their life together. All couples, no matter what culture they come from, have similar setbacks to deal through.

The author takes the reader on a journey through this backward country and all its antiquated beliefs about medicine and education for girls. The reader is drawn to all the beauty that the author is detailing which shows the love she has for this country.

Although I have never traveled to this part of the world I felt an empathy for the people and their remarkable ability to survive. With the Taliban at their back door they are forced to escape or stand against evil.

This is an unforgettable story about the resilience of one woman to conquer what many could not fathom. An enjoyable book and a must read for all! Kudos to the author for an outstanding novel!
Janice Spina, Buy:

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


Mary Smith, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Mary’s website to view all her books.

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Lizanne Lloyd has reviewed That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughn on her blog. Lizanne is also part of the Rose’s Book Review Team which is a fantastic reviewing collaboration.

SeahorseHere is an extract from Lizanne’s review on her blog

An old house in an estate on the beautiful east coast of Ireland is a perfect setting for romance and mystery. Mia Flannagan is summoned to Galty House by the sad news of the imminent death of Archie Fitzgerald, a celebrated Hollywood actor who took the place of a father for most of her troubled childhood. During a rather distant relationship with her mother, stunning actress Fenella Flannagan, Mia was nurtured by Archie’s family and friends, but even they would never reveal the identity of her father.

Leaving the set of a disastrous film where she is in charge of the wardrobe, she is relieved to find Archie is in good form despite being weak and tiring easily. He maintains a good relationship with his new neighbour, American hotel manager, Ross Power’ but Mia is more interested in a friendship with Pearl, the lonely, neglected niece. Just as Mia was, she is an imaginative, talkative child and the two have adventures together visiting the mysterious island just off the coast.

Head over and read the rest of the review: Lizanne Lloyd reviews That Summer at The Seahorse Hotel

The final reviewer today is Mark Paxson  who has written a wonderful post about both Audrey Driscoll and Carrie Rubin..Mark Paxson is also the author of One Night in Bridgeport, The Marfa Lights, Deviation and Shady Acres available from Amazon Mark Paxson

The review I want to feature is for Audrey Driscoll who is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Here is an extract from the post on Mark’s blog

Audrey Driscoll is a blogger/writer who has followed my blog for some time. I have always appreciated her likes and occasional comments, but I only recently returned the favor and started following her blog a few months ago. It’s the kind of writer’s blog I appreciate. Most of the time you don’t even realize she has pursued publishing efforts because much of her blog is dedicated to her other pursuits.

A few weeks ago Berthold Gambrel posted a review of one of Audrey’s books, The Friendship of Mortals. Interestingly, Berthold learned of Audrey from my blog, likely because of a comment she left there that he then followed down the WordPress trail. His review inspired me to read The Friendship of Mortals. And I don’t know why. I’ve never read Lovecraft and haven’t the foggiest idea about his (her?) books and stories, although I’ve heard the name occasionally over the years.

Actually, I do know why. I wanted to show some support for a fellow writer and I hoped for a good story to go along with it.

Head over and read the rest of the blog postReview for The Friendship of Mortals by Audrey Driscoll by Mark Paxson

And here is Mark’s review for the book on Amazon.

I read a review of this book on a blog and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. It is an excellent story, exceptionally well-written and well-told. I put Audrey in this category of writers who write in a more old-fashioned style. There is a poetry to her style, a rhythm and movement that is … well, it’s like baseball. There is no clock, and there are moments when nothing much is happening. But a good storyteller and a patient reader can recognize that even in those quiet moments something is happening. And a lot happens in this story. I highly recommend it.


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


I think that you get the idea of how this is shaping up. My aim is to get reviews spread as far as possible and as bloggers from countries around the world we have that ability.

I want to recognise those that already review books and thank them for taking the time to do so, and I also want to encourage others to review the books that they read. This post is just a small drop in the ocean and your help to spread its message is gratefully received.

Thanks for dropping in today and here is a quick summary of how you can participate.

  • If you are a regular book reviewer, or have recently reviewed a book on your blog send me the link to your latest post.
  • If you do not blog your reviews but post them on Amazon and Goodreads then send me the link to the review and give me your blog link to include.
  • If you are an author who has received a blog post review recently please send me a link.
  • If you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore with a recent review send me the link and I will include in the twice weekly updates.
  • If you are an author with a recent review on Amazon or Goodreads and are not in the Cafe and bookstore then contact me so we can put you on the shelves with a promotion.
  • You can put your links in the comments or you can email me on If you are a new author to the blog then please email me.

Please check out all the authors and their books in the Cafe and Bookstore:


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Gigi Sedlmayer, Jan Sikes, Balroop Singh, Mary Smith, Janice Spina, Kristina Stanley, Carmen Stefanescu, Phillip T. Stephens, Bette A. Stevens and Molly Stevens

Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week or so.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their listing which also includes a link to buy the books but also discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts too.

Here is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore with their  reviews.

Gigi Sedlmayer, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Gigi’s website to view all her books.

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An extract from a recent review for Book five in the Talon Series Encounter

TALON, ENCOUNTER is Book 5 in The Talon Series and for those new to this ongoing series, the story is set in Peru and is focused on a young girl Matica who is congenitally small in stature (though nine years of age she appears to be age two!) and who is frowned upon by the Andean Indians because of her strange appearance: Matica is lonely and longs for friends which she finds not in people, but in the condors – birds of threatened extinction. She is guided by the great condors Tamo and Tima and when their egg hatches Matica nurtures the young condor, Talon, who becomes her closest ally. Together they soar through adventures that celebrate the majesty of the Peruvian landscape and beyond.

Matica goes above and beyond to help her beloved condors. Each book grows stronger as Gigi captures our full attention with her imaginative story. Grady Harp, January 18

Jan Sikes, Buy:

An extract from a recent review for The Convict and the Rose

This journey towards growth and a deeper understanding is one very special reading experience. The anguished struggle of two-fallible, and all too human people as life hands out its own deranged sense of justice is at times painful to read.

This book provoked anger, sadness and a deep sense of empathy in me. It in turn delighted me, and made me cry, and then continued to invade my senses long after the ending. There is a depth of love between these two damaged souls that defies the limitations of time. The drug abuse is a road many of us have taken in times of the darkest despair, the struggle to overcome it and move clearly distant is an epic one, as is the final understanding of the violent reactions of Luke to his imprisonment. Life knocked these valiant people to the ground again and again. BUT they didn’t stay down for the count.  A wonderful, moving and intensely memorable story of love!

Balroop Singh, Buy:


A recent review for Emerging Shadows

In a topsy-turvy world where people grapple to make sense of the events around them, they look to literature for a moment of reflection. Poetry by Balroop Singh helps clear the chaos by making life easier to navigate, find, and feel cheerful about.

In The Secret of Being Alive, she writes, “sharp shards of shattered emotions, pierce as I try to gather those sensations, wilderness walks with me; yet a dim, discrete light beckons” – has such spunk, that last shred commanding us to hang on to hope, not rope, as the first step. And, no matter how glossy the outside world looks, there’s always a struggle “beneath that beauty lie broken dreams, beneath that smile recline unspoken words,” which she pens in When Darkness Deepens. What she does in How Can I Thank You? “The dazzling rays of sun, had to pierce through you, to reach me, while the moonlight was all mine,” is pure enchantment. So many pearls of unalloyed magic glisten in Emerging from Shadows, worth visiting and revisiting. Anyone can externalize, but if one wishes to internalize in a world where emotions are fast dying, grab a copy of this book. Now.

Mary Smith, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Mary’s website to view all her books.

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An extract from a recent review for Donkey Boy and Other Stories

This is a fascinating collection of short stories, set in various places with a wealth of diverse characters, all wonderfully rounded. The author has a talent for setting the scene and giving a sense of place with few well-chosen words.

I read each of these unusual stories slowly, taking in the way each situation unfolded, savouring the reactions of the characters to each problem they faced, enjoying the touches of humour, poignancy, empathising with the great sadness in some of the tales.

Not sure I had an overall favourite, they are all easy to read, but these are the ones that stayed with me long after I’d read them:

The story in the title, Donkey Boy. The protagonist, Ali, should be in school but instead drives a donkey cart for his father. His resentment is palpable from the very start. The dilemma he faces exposes the way different cultures live; not only their values and ethics but the differences in the child and adult in these societies. This is well deserving as the title story.

Janice Spina, Buy:

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


One of the early reviews for Lucy The Talented Toy Terrier

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne  5.0 out of 5 stars Another cute book by Janice Spina March 27, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Janice Spina’s new story about Lucy. It was great fun to learn about Lucy’s personality and how she liked to spend her day. For example, Lucy loved taking walks with her owners, but she hated bath time.Guess what Lucy’s favorite meal was? She loved spaghetti, with or without meatballs. But it needed homemade sauce. Parents and children will love learning about Lucy and her endearing traits. It’s another remarkable story by Janice Spina. I highly recommend that you add it to your collection of books by this talented author such as Louey the Lazy Elephant and Lamby the Lonely Lamb. You’re sure to enjoy them.

Kristina Stanley, Buy

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An extract from a recent review for Avalanche

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.

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.

Carmen Stefanescu, buy:

One of the reviews for Shadows of the Past

Sandra Cox  5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Dark September 26, 2017

Shadows of the Past is a dark paranormal that flows smoothly between the present and the past when a young woman, trying to mend a broken relationship, finds an ancient jeweled cross, human remains and makes contact with the ghost of a medieval nun. Genevieve’s (the nun) oppression in the story is almost palatable. The written word weighted. Shadows of the Past combines romance and paranormal with a light trace of horror. Leave the light on when you read.

Phillip T. Stephens, Buy:

Please visit Phillip’s Amazon page or his blog to view all his books.

An extract from a review for Cigerets, guns & Beer.

The cover of Cigerets, Guns & Beer by Phillip T. Stevens catches the eye immediately. Beer and cigarettes are present, necessary for any good breakfast. While a gun is not displayed, bullet holes are, perhaps from the night before. A reader might predict that this will be a “good ol’ boy” novel replete with rednecks. The reader would be correct.

This novel will make those who grew up in a small town nostalgic; a place where there might be only one law enforcement officer who also read water and electric meters, sold alcohol in defiance of Sunday “blue laws,” was a source of under-the-table porn, and served as a de facto judge deciding what town residents could and could not get away with.

Bette A. Stevens, Buy:


One of the recent reviews for Pure Trash: The Story

I love this short story. I enjoy Bette’s easy-style of writing and her ability in creating her characters. The timing of the story takes place in the 1950s, and she sets a wonderfully nostalgic scene. A compelling story with a mixture of fun and drama.

Molly Stevens, Buy:

A recent review for the book.

Kids have Elf on the Shelf, why not give adults a Boomer on the Ledge? This is a very short book (24 pages) with images of an adorable middle-aged doll in a variety of staged positions that poke fun at the trials of aging. Stevens added humorous captions to the images, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. A quick and enjoyable read for boomers and anyone dealing with the less enjoyable aspects of aging. We might as well laugh!

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the authors and their books on social media. Thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Janice Spina, Don Massenzio, Balroop Singh and Barb Taub

Welcome to the Friday update and another full house of talent with new books and recent reviews from authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author with two new releases is prolific children’s author Janice Spina with a new story about Lucy.. someone very close to her heart. And a sequel to her book for adults Hunting Mariah.

Firstly about Lucy: The Talented Toy Terrier

This book is based on my dog, Lucy, who I had for 16 years. She was quite a character and did all the things that are in this book.

She loved my spaghetti with homemade sauce, watched TV shows featuring animals, hated baths, “sang” when music was played, and had two cherished possessions, a knotted rag and a ball.

I hope you will enjoy reading about Lucy. She is no longer with us and can never be replaced.

Head over and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina please head over to Janice’s Amazon page to view them all.

And the latest release as J.E. Spina

About Mariah’s Revenge

This book begins where the first book, Hunting Mariah, left off. This suspense/thriller/crime novel will keep you turning pages as the tension grows. There will be twists and turns and some surprises. Many of the same characters will be in play to give support and encouragement to Mariah along the way.

A new man comes into Mariah’s life that reminds her of someone she wants to forget. He threatens to bring back the horrors that she and her family once endured. While the one she wants to forget suffers from a horrendous attack that puts his life in jeopardy.
Mariah must draw on her strength and resilience to survive danger at every turn. How much more can Mariah endure? How far will Mariah go to protect her family?

One of the early reviews for the book

WOW! I am a beta reader & lucky enough to have already read this. I did not read the prequel Hunting Mariah, but was still able to follow this 1. Mariah is again in danger & this time through all the twists & turns, she takes matters into her own hands. I was shocked by the violence of being in a serial killers mind! Janice did a wonderful job of making it so suspenseful, I found it hard to put the book down!

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also as J.E. Spina

Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy:

and on Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Janice on Goodreads:

Connect to Janice via her website:

The next author with a recent review is Don Massenzio for Frank Incensed: A Frank Rozzani Detective Novel.

About the book

The stakes are high as Private Detective Frank Rozzani races against time to save the love of his life. Will Frank rescue her from the terrible man in the trench coat or will this man end the life of yet another person that Frank is close to? Find out who survives in the new Frank Rozzani Detective Mystery – Frank Incensed.

A recent review for the book

The stakes are high as Private Detective Frank Rozzani races against time to save the love of his life. Will Frank rescue her from the terrible man in the trench coat or will this man end the life of yet another person that Frank is close to? Find out who survives in the new Frank Rozzani Detective Mystery (from Amazon)
Frank Incensed is book three in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series by Don Massenzo. It is a perfect continuation of the story. What made it special for me there were new facts about Frank’s personality that came to light. I can’t go into too much detail here but take my word this story will have you on the edge of your seat as Frank tries to work his way through a sinister situation in an attempt save the life of the one he loves.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes detective stories that have exciting plots and well-developed characters.

Read the rest of the reviews and buy:

And on Amazon UK:

A selection of other books by Don Massenzio

Discover all of Don’s books, read the reviews and buy:

And on Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Don Massenzio on Goodreads:

Connect to Don via his blog:

The next author with news is Balroop Singh with a new review for her poetry collection Emerging From Shadows.

About Emerging from Shadows poetry collection

From darkness into light, from despair onto the wider ways of hope…life oscillates between sunshine and shadows. Emerging from shadows is a choice, which lies dormant, which can be gently inspired by self-talk. Each poem in this book banks on the hope of emerging stronger, saner, positive and resilient. Each poem in this book would talk to you, revealing layers of enclosed emotions. Each poem would divulge a secret path that could lead you into the world of poise and serenity.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Deborah A. Bowman, author 5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure chest of emotions! March 11, 2018

This is a book every poet, every human being with a heart full of emotion can relate to, cherish, and read over and over again. You will experience a different, more resonant feeling each time you read these poignant words of a true master of verse, Balroop Singh. This book is a plethora of expression. As the author emerges from the shadows, life is renewed for all who read these exquisitely penned poems.

If you desire only one book to be on your own personal journey, THIS IS THE ONE!I

I would love to recite some snippets of Singh’s masterful creations to you, the reader, but even quotes or small passages are restricted by copyright.

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads:

Connect to Balroop Singh via her blog:

Now for Barb Taub and another great review for her latest book released in January. Life Begins When the Kids Leave Home.. and the dog dies.

About the book

Chapter 1. A California girl named Barb met her prince of a guy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. (Actually, he was a Republican. But he was definitely tall.) They fell in love, and got married. Chapter 2. He brought her to his castle in England and they lived happily ever after. THE END** **Luckily, 35+ years of living happened between Chapters 1 and 2, giving Barb plenty of material for this collection (in no particular chronological order) from her newspaper columns, articles, blog posts, and that time she killed Mom. And that’s before

Chapter 3 even starts. “I have learned to put down the coffee and place breakable objects at a safe distance when a post from Barb Taub comes up. It is very hard to drink coffee and laugh at the same time without redecorating the desk…”—author Sue Vincent Bio: In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side (an HR career).

Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle , a hobbit house, and a Scottish isle with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Considering all her days are now Saturdays, Barb is amazed that this is her sixth book.

A recent review for the book

Barb Taub has a remarkable talent for seeing humour that is deep and rich in the most unexpected places. She is able to focus on something almost everyone experiences as a matter of routine in life, and transform it into something that either has you chuckle knowingly or laughing uproariously. Sharing details of growing up in her own large family, she offers a glimpse of how her finely honed sense of humour developed. Combined with her journalistic experience and innate storytelling ability, Taub’s writing offers an escape from the often harsh realities of the world today and reminds us of the importance of laughter. A gift!

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Barb Taub

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Follow Barb Taub on Goodreads:

Connect to Barb via her website:

And I just had to include this wonderfully presented review from author Deborah A. Bowman that I found on Facebook this morning…

Thank you for dropping in today and it would help the authors promote their news if you would be kind enough to click on some of the share buttons.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Jack Eason, Janice Spina, Amy M. Reade, John W. Howell and C.S. Boyack

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update with news of recent releases and reviews from some of the authors in the bookstore.

The first author with a new review for his book Race Against Time is Jack Eason.

About the book

In 2012, many otherwise rational people had convinced themselves that because the Mayan calendar stopped at December 21st of that year, that we were about to enter the biblical end of days. But it didn’t happen. Why are we still alive? Read the archaeological adventure Race Against Time for one possible explanation.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Bob Van Laerhoven – Belgian novelist 5.0 out of 5 stars An adventure story that also is instructive  7 February 2018

“Race against time” is an outstanding example of how an author can turn extensive archaeological knowledge into a superb adventure story, chock-full high-caliber entertainment. With the abrupt ending of the Mayan Calendar in 2012, and the prediction that the Solar System will be annihilated in that very year, as a starting point, Jack Eason tells a gripping tale that spans the world, that is often funny but at the same time suspenseful, and that is populated by characters we love to love or to hate. At the end, when the reader thinks that everything will collapse, Eason provides an ingenious, surprising end. An adventure story that also is instructive, a mix of genres that also is a fast-paced and highly entertaining yarn….Eason succeeded in forging all these elements seamlessly together.

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A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

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Then next author with a recent review is children’s author Janice Spina for her book Davey and Derek Junior Detectives Book 3.

About the book

Davey & Derek Donato are twins who love adventures and enjoy being junior detectives. In Book 3 of this series their help is enlisted to find an ivory figurine that has been taken from the local museum.

There are many suspects and danger is not far from the boys as they learn more magic and use their skills to find those responsible for the theft.

Their Aunt Gigi is close by to lend a hand and at the same time help the twins hone their magical gifts.

A recent review for the book

This is book 3 in the Davey & Derek junior detective series and it is the best one we have read to date. Michael loves these two adventurous boys and the addition of some real magic in their lives really added to his enjoyment of the tale. Magic wands and books in the hands of 11-year old boys really captivated him and my Dad has made him a wand out of wood, painted metallic blue, so that he could have one too.

Davey and Derek learn the history and story of Aunt Gigi’s ivory elephant and discover some of this figurines magic. They are concerned for the safety of this figurine when they hear that a similar type of figurine has been stolen from the local museum. Certain local boys seem to be implicated in the crime and when a school peer asks the twins to help solve the case, Davey and Derek are thrilled to oblige. The boys embark on an exciting adventure to unwind the clues relating to the case, with some help and some confusion being provided by their magic books birthday gifts.

I would recommend this book for middle school children. My rating is five out of five stars.

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A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

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Now time for a brand new release from Amy M. Reade….Murder in Thistlecross (A Malice Novel)


About the book

The emerald hills and violet valleys of Wales seem the ideal place to start over after murder—and divorce—shattered Eilidh’s life in the Scottish Highlands. But within the stone walls of an ancient castle, a family’s dark, violent past threatens much more than her newfound tranquility . . .

For the past two years, Eilidh has called the quaint Welsh village of Thistlecross home, embracing her new life as estate manager of a restored fifteenth-century castle. But the long-anticipated arrival of her employer’s three estranged sons and their wives transforms Gylfinog Castell from a welcoming haven to a place seething with dangerous secrets. When the escalating tensions culminate in murder, Eilidh must sift through a castle full of suspects both upstairs and downstairs. She can trust no one as she follows a twisting maze of greed and malice to ferret out a killer who’s breaching every defense, preparing to make Eilidh the next to die.

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Also by Amy M. Reade

One of the recent reviews for Highland Peril on Goodreads

Jan 23, 2018 Anna rated it was amazing

Another brilliant read from Amy M. Reade. There is a reason why she is my favourite author – not one of her books has disappointed me. She writes in a format that makes me feel that I’m standing in the room with the characters. The description of everything is so brilliant that I can clearly see everything in the room or in the area. The suspense is written in a way that instead of everything being spelled out there is room for my mind to imagine a greater suspense. You care about her characters because they are so well written. I highly recommend picking up one of her books!

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Now for an update in the first of the John J. Cannon books My GRL by John W. Howell.

About My GRL

John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Although I usually don’t enjoy books written in the present tense, John Cannon’s wry humor and engaging voice drew me into this exciting story. Howell’s particular strength is his ability to take the reader through completely unfamiliar territory and make it come alive.

The scenes on the boat were engrossing and exciting. Howell ratchets up the tension until it seems impossible for his protagonist to survive, and yet the resolution was believable and thrilling.

I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

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Also by John W.Howell

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And now the final  author with news. C.S. Boyack with his novella, The Hat released last month.

About The Hat

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

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lizzie St Laurent is heartbroken that her grandmother died and she got nothing from the estate. In anger, she grabs a box out of the back of a moving truck vacating her grandmother’s antique shop. Once she finally settled in with a glass of wine and opens it, she is shocked to find a fedora hat. She quickly discounts it and continues grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother. But, the hat is a living entity attached to her family through Lizzie’s grandfather and generations before him. And while it takes her a little time to adjust to it, they turn out to be quite the team.

From playing the upright bass, which Lizzie had never touched in her life, to rescuing kidnapped babies, the Hat takes Lizzie on quite the journey. I loved this novella from C.S. Boyack. It has so many different elements and plot twists that it always kept me guessing. The ending couldn’t have been more perfectly executed. If you like off-the-wall stories with elements of supernatural, ghouls, witches and a Hat that can perform all sorts of magic, you’ll love this story.

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found more members for your every eager TBRs… thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – D.G. Kaye, Heather Kindt, Leslie Tate and Janice Spina

Welcome to Friday’s author update and a catch up on news for the talented authors in the bookstore.

The first author whose memoir Twenty Years: After “I Do” is receiving rave reviews is D.G. Kaye.

About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

“Twenty Years After I Do” is a love story, all the more compelling because it is true. Kaye shines a light under the table, exposing those things many of us prefer to keep out of sight. For all of the unpleasant topics in the book, this is not a depressing journey. She doesn’t say that love concours all, but she shows us, through her own life, that it so often does. More accurately, she explains that love will help us face whatever outcome life gives us.

The author is one of the decreasing number of people who understand that marriage is “til death do us part.” Staying together is not optional, it’s not a choice to be made. That choice was made with the speaking of the words, “I Do.” She shows us that love and humor are tools we can use to overcome obstacles we would have thought unsurmountable.

This is a good read. Reading it has made me feel like I’ve made a friend. 

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Other books by D.G. Kaye


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And now time to catch up with Word Weaver Contest winner Heather Kindt whose debut novel Ruby Slips and Poker Chips was published in November..

About Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

Second-grade teacher Dottie Gale lives in the tiny town of Quandary, Kansas, which is pretty much smack dab in the middle of nowhere. No mountains. No ocean. No life. Her ex-boyfriend and current school board member, Corbin Lane, cheated on her, making school functions more than a little awkward. But worst of all, a tornado named Maxine Westward rips through Dottie’s school as the new principal and has made her life at work a living hell.
When Dottie is chosen to go to a teacher’s conference in Las Vegas, she knows her life is going to change.

Driving from Quandary to Vegas, three strangers enter her life. Through a string of situations involving poppies, flying monkeys, and a life-size sculpture of an iconic rock star the four soon become inseparable. So, when Westward arrives on her broom in Vegas, Dottie is ready for battle. Her boss black mails her with stories of incarceration, thievery, and a steamy relationship with her travel companion, but Dottie knows that those who hurl insults shouldn’t hold secrets of their own.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Roses are Amber 4.0 out of 5 stars Modern day Wizard Of Oz December 30, 2017

Ruby Slips And Poker Chips is a romantic comedy and a modern-day tale of Dorothy Gale.

Fans of The Wizard Of Oz might well sit up and take note, as this book is filled with plenty of teasers to delight the reader. Dottie Gale is a teacher in Quandary Elementary, Kansas. When a tornado blew through town, she swore it dropped off Maxine Westward, the new Headmistress.

Dottie and Maxine are instant enemies, especially when Maxine installs new, unpopular, rules. Dottie is restless in boring Quandary, so when she’s picked to attend a teacher’s conference in Las Vegas, she jumps at the chance to attend.

If I tell you that Dottie is forced to drive to Las Vegas, that she pops in a tape of her favourite band, Toto, and she is asked to pick up Mr Fields and Mr Lyons who are also attending the conference, you’ll get a good feel for the storyline.

Will Dottie find the answers she wants? Does ‘there’s no place like home’, ring true for our modern girl?

I had so much fun reading this and spotting all the clever twists, it was very entertaining. In fact I’m tempted to re-read it, to find more of the subtle hints. I’ve also been to a few of the places mentioned in the book which meant an extra thumbs up for me. I would definitely recommend to readers who enjoy a modern take on a good original oldie.

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The next update is for Leslie Tate for his memoir Heaven’s Rage. Leslie was the first guest in the new series of Open House last Sunday.

About the book

HEAVEN’S RAGE is an imaginative autobiography. Reporting on feelings people don’t usually own up to, Leslie Tate explores addiction, cross-dressing and the hidden sides of families. Writing lyrically, he brings together stories of bullying, childhood dreams, thwarted creativity and late-life illness, discovering at their core the transformative power of words to rewire the brain and reconnect with life. A Robin Red breast in a Cage / Puts all Heaven in a Rage — William Blake

One of the recent reviews for the book

Susan Hampson5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational 25 January 2017

The book description just does not do this novel justice as after finishing reading I was left in awe of this incredible man. There is such a raw honesty about everything that I read, where he doesn’t just simply tell you a story around an event in his life but how it made him feel too. The deepest raw feelings that you would normally keep to yourself.

Leslie Tate’s novel takes you through his early years both at home and in school where he struggled to fit in either place. There was, what I felt to be, a very touching moment when his granddad had formed a close relationship with him. He had loved going there and playing games, granddad telling him to play tricks on his grandma. I could ‘feel’ the excitement in him as he talked about this time in his life. Here was an adult that played with him, listened to him and talked to him,then the guilt and disappointment when he grew up and he found out what his granddad was really getting him to do. My heart felt like it nearly stopped for him. I really don’t know how he grew up to be such a caring man

I just love the passion he has which he shares both in his writing and poetry with his readers. Both are very powerful. He demonstrates that strength isn’t always in bulk and muscle but in character, to be able to say to people this is who I am and be at peace with yourself. He was really a forerunner of his time when electric shock therapy was thought of as a cure to threat anyone that questioned their gender. That is courage. One thing that did come across very strongly was the bond that he has for his friends and the love that he continually has for his lovely wife Susan.

It really has been a pleasure to read this book

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Also by Leslie Tate click cover to buy

And available on Pre- order for March 18th.

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The next author is celebrating another wonderful children’s book to add to her collection. Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab by Janice Spina and illustrated by John Spina

About the story.

Clarence Henry is different from other hermit crabs. He came to his new home minus one claw and a leg. He needs to protect himself until he can grow new appendages. Will Clarence Henry be able to meet the challenges in his new water world?

Clarence Henry was a real aquatic hermit crab who lives in a saltwater fish tank in our home. We watched him interact with the other creatures in the tank.

He was resilient, intelligent, and a joy to have as a pet. We took some photos of him as he grew his claw and leg and changed shells.

We shared these photos and facts about hermit crabs in the back of the book. I hope you will enjoy them. This book will make a wonderful resource for classrooms.

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A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

One of the recent reviews for Colby the Courageous Cat.

Who doesn’t like books about kittens, especially kittens which like adventures? It wouldn’t be a real kitten if it didn’t get in some trouble. I know this because have kittens adopted me a few times now.

“Colby the Courageous Cat,” written by award-winning author Janice Spina and illustrated by John Spina, is one of those books that entertains and educates young children at the same time. While following Colby the kitten and his siblings on great adventures, children will face a few dangerous situations that will make them applaud the brave kitten. It’s a lovely story that encourages children to think and act when they see a danger, and to take responsibility then they are in charge.

The bright, colorful illustrations and rhyming storyline put children into an exploring mood and paying attention to Colby’s actions, as he is in charge of his frisky brothers and sisters. Their love of exploring could get them in trouble, but the biggest brother makes sure he keeps them safe. It is a fast read for any child, wonderful for a bedtime story or nap, and to read aloud at mom’s clubs or libraries. A great book for toddlers and up, and for sure the cat lovers like me!

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found more members for your every eager TBRs… thanks Sally



Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your reviews – Janice Spina, Karen Ingalls and Gay Ingram

Welcome to the first of the review posts for the week and our first author with a new review is Janice Spina for her book The Case of The Brown Scraggly Dog

About the book

Davey and Derek Donato are at it again in this new book. In this case they come across a brown scraggly dog with blood on its paw but when the boys try to stop the dog, it runs away.

Aunt Gigi is here once again to assist the boys with their magic and provide some new spells.

Clues surface that suggest that someone may be injured and in need of help. The boys will have to use their skills and a little magic to solve this case.

One of the recent reviews for the book – Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite:

Davey and Derek are twins. They do just about everything together, including solving mysteries and learning a little bit of magic from their Great-Aunt Gigi. On a recent visit to their great-aunt, the boys learned a new magic trick and discovered “a large brown scraggly dog with frightened eyes.” There was nothing to identify the dog, but it did have blood on its paws. So the mystery was definitely bigger than just finding the dog’s home. They conjectured whether there was a murder involved. Just as they were attempting to connect with the dog, it took off. And the mystery deepened.

Janice Spina has a knack for writing mysteries. Her recent addition to the Davey and Derek Junior Detectives Series, The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog, is another good twist on what might appear to be a simple mystery. Like the ever popular young boys’ mystery series, the Hardy Boys, Davey and Derek, the two protagonists, make a great team of amateur sleuths. The basic plot of a boy team working together solving the mystery develops simply, mixed in with a little bit of magic, a little bit of boyish fun and a little bit of humor. The reader can’t help but like and even relate to these active youngsters whose minds never stop working. The plot is developed primarily through dialogue, which makes this a good story for an early chapter book reader. There’s nothing better to encourage the reluctant young boy reader than a Hardy Boys-like series mixed with a little bit of magic and a whole lot of fun.

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A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

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Now time to update the reviews for Outshine – An Ovarian Cancer Memoir by Karen Ingalls.

About the book

When Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with Stage IIC ovarian cancer, she realized how little she knew about what is called “the silent killer.” As Ingalls began to educate herself she felt overwhelmed by the prevalent negativity of cancer. Lost in the information about drugs, side effects, and statistics, she redirected her energy to focus on the equally overwhelming blessings of life, learning to rejoice in each day and find peace in spirituality.

In this memoir, Karen is a calming presence and positive companion, offering a refreshing perspective of hope with the knowledge that “the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radian. It is a story of survival and reminds readers that disease is not an absolute, but a challenge to recover.

Recent reviews for the book

Outshine is aptly named. It shines with inspiration, faith, hope, and resolve. In it, the author shares the challenges she faced after receiving a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Outshine isn’t heavy. Nor is it oppressive. It’s well-written and reads more like a story told by a strong woman who shares her trials with the reader. Karen Ingalls also shares the good times she allowed herself to experience in order to keep the balance her mind needed to survive. God gave Karen a strong support system led by her rock solid husband. This system helped her live more positively and gave her strength to acquire and apply all the knowledge she could. Throughout, Karen credits God, friends, family, and her doctors for helping her to survive. I intend to re-read Outshine, intermittently, to help me minister to friends and family who may be going through cancer. I’m also recommending it to anyone that I think it might help.

As a long-time ovarian cancer survivor, I found this book, which I purchased from the author, to be well-written, an excellent guide to help others cope with the cancer roller coaster ride, and a heartfelt personal story. I highly recommend it to all those who have been touched by cancer. Marcia Mabee

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Also by Karen Ingalls

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Gay Ingram released her latest historical novel for young adults and teens in August and time to share some recent reviews, George Washington: From Boy Surveyor to Soldier.

About the book

The death of his father when he was only eleven dashes George Washington’s hopes for a proper English education. Then, his mother refuses to allow him to fulfill his dream of a Naval career. It is only with the discovery of his father’s surveying tools that the young George finds an ‘open door’ to experiences that will prepare him for the greatest adventure of his life…our country’s first president.

A brief excerpt from Chapter One.

Virginia Colony, 1743

The two horses thundered across the meadow, neck-to-neck. Clods of torn-away dirt flew into the air to mark their passage. George tucked his head close to the animal’s neck to excape the stinging slap of a wind-blown mane. Monitor’s shoulder muscles bunched beneath the boy’s legs when the horse launched into the air to clear the ditch. Boy and animal landed with a jolt. George held his seat as the horse rushed on. He wondered if his cousin Lund’s hors would take the jump and looked back over his shoulder. Horse and rider folloed behind, completing the jump. He let out a whoop. The feel of Monitor’s surging energy beneath him, the rush of air sucking at his breath, skimming past a blurred landscape;every part fo the wild ride exhilarated George.

Ms. Ingram has created an interesting picture of our First President’s boyhood. Somehow it is hard to visualize our national leaders as children with their own goals, childhood escapades, and frustrations. It’s surprising the change in attitude toward England and the King that occured during George Washington’s life. These are tidbits of information that aren’t in the history books. It is information that makes President Washington a real person rather than an historical figure in a book. I can recommend it to youth and adults.

History Anew on September 1, 2017

Author Gay Ingram has a way with weaving details, dialog and description as expertly as a weaver might fashion a new rug.

This book was written for an audience much younger than myself. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned a lot about Washington I did not know before, despite being a student of history. Ingram takes the reader by the hand and gently pulls you in, so that you feel as though you are a part of the story. In particular, I enjoyed the parts dealing with the “boy surveyor”. One of my ancestors — a man named Samuel Gann — did survey work in Virginia colony with a young George Washington. To read the story of this time in Washington’s life gave me an intense appreciation for what my own family went through in colonial Virginia.

This story is beautifully-written, rich with detail and emotion. I would encourage young and old alike to read this book and come to know one of our greatest Founding Fathers in a new and deeper way.

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A small selection of the many other books by Gay Ingram

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Sue Coletta, J.E Spina and C.S. Boyack

Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates for the week and the first author is Sue Coletta with her brand new novella – Brotherhood Protectors: Fractured Lives.

About Fractured Lives

Three couples, the perfect Maine vacation, and a fateful night that lands one of the women in mortal danger.

Couples are going missing in Sunset Cove at Long Lake, and the authorities seem more concerned with not tarnishing the reputation of their popular tourist destination. Until … while out for a spin on her wave runner, Shawnee Daniels pulls alongside a deserted canoe.

Blood stains the seat.

When retired SEAL Brandon “Boomer” Rayne wakes to an empty bed—his bride-to-be Daphne nowhere inside their rented cabin—he enlists the help of the only people he’s met in the state: the couple next door, Shawnee Daniels and Revere, Massachusetts Detective Levaughn Samuels.

Uncertainty bonds the two neighbors, forced together by tragedy. Their predicament turns even deadlier when the half-nude body of a female washes ashore. No obvious signs of homicide exist. How did she die? Does her death relate to Daphne’s disappearance?

Time’s running out.

Can they piece together the mystery to find Boomer’s fiancé? Or will an elusive serial killer determine their fate?

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A small selection of other books by Sue Coletta.

The most recent review for Blessed Mayhem (The Mayhem Series Book Two) released on August 9th 2017.

Read one of Sue Coletta’s stories, and you’ll want to read all of them. Read Wings of Mayhem and/or Hacked, and there’s no way you’ll want to miss Blessed Mayhem.

This series picks up with Shawnee Daniels, current forensic hacker and former cat burglar, reverting to her old ways. That’s bad in and of itself, considering she not only works for the police, she’s dating a detective. What makes matters worse is she gets caught—by a serial killer in the middle of a… let’s call it a project. Thus begins a pulse-pounding game of cat-and-mouse. Or maybe I should say cat-and-bird. The way the author incorporates crows and ravens into this story is nothing short of inspired.

Coletta has a fabulous ability to craft believable characters who do extraordinarily memorable things. Our heroine (or is she an anti-heroine?) has a complex past that we learn more about in this novel, a past that not only impacts all her present-day relationships but also inspires a rather bold decision on her part. Her love interest is sexy and stalwart, the perfect complement to the heroine and her less-than-pure actions. Her best friend is a quirky delight. And the villain is deliciously complex. I haven’t been this enthralled by an antagonist since Hannibal Lecter.

The plot is fast-paced, the settings exquisitely described. I love everything I read by this author, but this may have been my favorite work of hers so far. If you like heart-hammering suspense, you don’t want to miss this.

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Next new edition and cover for Hunting Mariah by J.E.Spina (Janice Spina as Children’s author).

About the book

An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah.

Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past? Can Mariah escape this deadly killer’s grasp. Will she finally be safe? Will the killer be apprehended?

One of the reviews for Hunting Mariah for the previous edition

I had known Janice Spina as the author of charming, award-winning children’s picture books. So when her thriller novel “Hunting Mariah” hit the market, I was quite surprised! The next surprise (shock, in fact), came in reading the book’s opening. Raw and brutal, yet Spina tells it like it’s completely natural –thereby setting up getting the reader into the mind of the killer. This book started off with a bang!

The twists and turns this tale takes keep the reader off-guard as Mariah retells the events she slowly recalls after surviving her attacker – a man (and there are several men in Mariah’s life in the story) whose identity the reader is unsure of for most of the book. Devious poetry accompanies the text, as the killer verbalizes his justification for his savage desires, intentions, and actions.

This story runs the reader through the gamut of human emotions as Mariah, her friends, and family experience and endure what would be life’s normal course shattered by tragedy at the hands of a psychopath. I found myself deeply moved at one completely unexpected tragic point in the story.

I won’t give much more of the story away. After all, it IS a mystery/thriller, and I want you to be as surprised and entertained as I was.

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A selection of other books by Janice Spina

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The next update is for C.S. Boyack and his book Panama which has received some great reviews in the last month.

About Panama

Ethan and Coop are sent to the construction zone along the Panama Canal. They have some experience with strange phenomenon, but nothing prepared them for this.

They are faced with civil war, Carlist pretenders to the thrones of France and Spain, an invading Spanish army, and another from Hell itself. They’ll be lucky to survive, let alone take care of anything while they’re down there.

This story is based upon the construction of the canal, Panamanian independence, international cooperation, and a few celebrity cameos. Even the magic takes on an international flavor.

Ghosts and Voodoo are one thing, but they have no idea what waits along the isthmus.

The most recent review for Panama

Excellent Read  on September 5, 2017

Taking historical fiction, paranormal, and steampunk and mixing them together in a book sounds ambitious. It is ambitious, but C.S. Boyack does it well and the result is an engaging page turner. I say this as someone who is not a fan of the genres mentioned, but I am a fan of this book.

The tale centers around two federal marshals, enlisted by the larger-than-life Teddy Roosevelt, to facilitate the construction of the Panama Canal by using their respective abilities.

The characters in this book are engaging and colorful in their unique ways. The backdrop and gadgetry in the story reminded me of the Wild, Wild West television show, one of my childhood favorites.

This is the fifth C.S. Boyack book that I have read and I am amazed at the depth of the writing in various genres. The writing is solid in all of them. The biggest compliment that I can give is that Boyack’s books make me forget about the genre or mixture of genres and I become invested in the characters and the story.

I highly recommend that you give this book, and others by C.S. Boyack, a try. You won’t be disappointed.

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A selection of books also by C.S. Boyack

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will check these authors and their books out further.

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Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Janice Spina, Gigi Sedlmayer and Sally Cronin

Welcome to another post where you can showcase your latest reviews. I do try to catch your reviews but it does help if you let me know by emailing sally.cronin@moyhill. I am happy to share your news every four to six weeks to keep you in the spotlight.

The first author with a review today is Janice Spina for book five of her Davey and Derek, Junior Detectives series – The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost

About The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost

Twins Davey and Derek Donato are enlisted by two new characters, Abby and her cousin Holly, to assist them in finding and capturing the spooky beings that haunt their house.

When the boys visit Abby’s house they discover that this old Victorian holds many secrets and shocking revelations.

Davey and Derek soon find that they need the assistance of their Great Aunt Gigi to handle these mischievous phantoms.

The most recent review on Amazon

Once again, Davey and Derek are off on an adventure to solve a mystery. These two young detectives are on the trail of ghosts that are living in their friend Abby’s house. Abby and her cousin Holly are school mates of Davey and Derek and have more interest in them than just finding the ghosts. When they visit Abby’s home, a large old Victorian house, they discover the house holds secrets even Abby’s parents didn’t know about. Of course, once again, they enlist their Great Aunt Gigi to help them.

This was once again another delightful middle grade book in the Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series. Davey and Derek and their friends are delightful children who are respectful and considerate of others, but who don’t hesitate to do a bit of sleuthing under the nose of Abby’s parents.

As with the other books in this series, The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost is well written and meets the author’s criteria for instilling the love of reading in children.

I highly recommend The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost to all middle graders and to their parents. This would be a wonderful book to share, with parents taking a turn reading aloud.

This book was a gift from the author. I received no compensation for my honest review.

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Also by Janice Spina

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Another children’s author whose books receive excellent reviews continously is Gigi Sedlmayer and here is the latest for the first in the Talon Series – Come Fly With Me.

About Come Fly With Me

The adventure of a young girl will captivate your attention in this beautiful book. The words soar off the page and into your heart as you read this imaginative story.

Enjoy seeing the family dynamic from the first moment with her brother, to the gentle times with her mom, and the exciting scenes with her father.

A young girl, Matica, is jealous of her brother, Aiken’s ability to have friends. But Matica’s ability to form friendships is extraordinary. The trust and camaraderie between Matica and the condors is truly wonderful.

The way the author revealed each situation is fun to read and it made one anxious to see what’s next. Acceptance was eloquently woven into the story without being blatant. And the other thing I learned was that when certain things happen, you don’t always know why and just maybe something goodwill come of it.

Talon, Come Fly With Me is not only magical but inspiring. The author is expressive every step of the way and paint such vivid pictures with her words.

The most recent review on Amazon

This short story connects immediately to kids with its conversational tone. Matica is a girl who has grown up to be 9 years of age but physically is small. This leads her to feel isolated in her immediate circle. To add to the complexity, her parents – missionaries – relocate from Australia to South America to stay among the Indians.

Matica comes in contact with a pair of Condors – majestic birds which are close to extinction. She manages to develop a close bond with the birds and helps them through their travails when poachers try stealing their egg. In this attempt, Matica gets a huge round of admiration from the local Indians and is invited to various schools to share her story.

This narrative is a great example of story telling where the reader can bond with the main characters and get to understand issues like environment, conservation and diversity.

Full Disclosure : I had been provided a copy of the book by the author for an unconditional review (and I am glad I got to read her work)

There are 128 reviews for Come Fly With Me for you too browse and to buy the book:

Also by Gigi Sedlmayer

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And finally I am going to slip one of my latest review into the pile for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story.

About Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

The true story of Sam, a rough collie, written from his perspective. A tribute to a true friend and a genuine family member.

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.
From the first moment that I met Sam, when he was just three weeks old, his personality and charm shone from his button eyes. Like many pet owners, we were convinced he understood every word we spoke and he actually could say one or two himself. Rather than tell his story from our perspective I have given him a voice and let him tell his own.
I can only imagine what he really thought about his two and four-legged friends but I do hope he loved us as much as we adored him and the time he spent with us shining brightly in our lives.
If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

The most recent review on Amazon

When I read a book, I prepare for my review of it by highlighting the parts that I will want to quote in my review, ie. the sentences that are the touchpoints, or witty dialogue, the memorable moments, and lines that are the heart of the book. As I prepared to review Sam, I realized that I had highlighted the entire book. So many wonderful moments, funny stories, heartwarming scenes, and plenty of love are contained in this dog’s memoir.

Sam relates how he came as a young pup to live with Sally and David, in a lovely place near a beach in Ireland. Sam describes the large garden where he romps, his own splashing pool, his sun lounger, his rambles on the beach with his owners. Sam appreciates all this, but most of all he loves his pack and does his best to be a positive and helpful member of the pack. His only complaint is that he is never given enough cheese and sausages! (We hear you, Sam!)

Sam has many human and cat and dog friends. Sam and Sally’s adventures with Henry the cat, and his babies is quite amazing and touching. His Sally can speak Cat and Sam learns this language, too, along with a useful repertoire of words that he understands and words that he can say! He is also a very good listener.

Sam seems to be the typical smart, mature, only child. He is well-traveled (over 50,000 miles and several countries!) and interested and engaged in his world. As Sam writes, “There is no doubt that my pack could not do without me.” Adults, children, and worldly dogs and cats like Sam, will enjoy reading or hearing this lovely story. Highly recommend.

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Other books by Sally Cronin

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Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you enjoyed the selection. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Sue Coletta, Janice Spina and Amy M. Reade

Welcome to the first of the updates this week with two new books on the schelves and a discounted book offer. First a new release by the crime thriller writer Sue Coletta  with the Mayhem Series crossover novella – Special Forces: Operation Alpha: Hacked.

About the book

Shawnee Daniels wrongly assumes she’s being punished for innocently hacking the Police Chief’s photos. Okay, maybe not-so-innocently, but someone had to expose him for the dog that he is. When she arrives at the mandatory computer seminar, the FBI enlists her help in stopping a serial killer who’s remotely hacking vehicles while the owners are behind the wheel.

Why he’s targeted these people remains a mystery. None of the victims frequent the same places, some don’t even live in the same state. The only commonality is they all drive Fords.

When Detective Levaughn Samuels is taken hostage—his life teetering on the edge of a high-speed chase—there’s nothing Shawnee won’t do to save him, no line she won’t cross. And when her BFF shows up unannounced with problems of her own, she only complicates matters.

Can Shawnee stop the killer before she loses the only man she’s ever loved? Or will the ride of his life end in death?

One of the early reviews for the book

I honestly thought after reading the description of this book that I wouldn’t understand the technicalities of it and that might put me off. But once the journey began I was gripped from start to finish. The explanations of how the hacks were being performed simply blended in with the storyline. I think I read this book most of the time with my heart in mouth and my blood pumping at the same speed that the cars were travelling at. Will Shawnee save her love in time, before he too flies over a cliff or crashes into a tree? Will the hacker be caught to prevent more of these terrifying murders…….the reveal of who the hacker is will have your jaw hitting the floor and your heart melting at the same time.
I cannot fault Sues work. Her attention to detail, how she crafts each character into an imaginable reality, people we care about!

So, if you want a ride on the seat of your pants read, heart stopping, fear inducing as well as tear inducing. This the one for you. I can assure you, if this is the first book you’ve read by this author you will want to read more. This is a novella, but her novels are just as gripping. So get your car keys and rev up for this 5 star pageturner!

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Also by Sue Coletta

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The next new book is prolific children’s books and mystery writer Janice Spina... the fifth case for Davey & Derek Junior Detectives with the Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost.

About the book

Twins Davey and Derek Donato, junior detectives by their own design, are enlisted by two new characters, Abby Rizzo and her cousin Holly, sixth graders, to assist them in finding and capturing the spooky beings that haunt their house.

When the boys visit Abby’s house they discover that this old Victorian house holds many secrets and shocking revelations for all. This house appears to be haunted by multiple stubborn specters. When one of the apparitions appears to Abby and Holly and presents them with two books that reveal the identity of one of the specters, the girls feel compelled to help the ghosts find their way to the other side. Once the girls share this new information with the twins, Davey and Derek, find that they may need the assistance of their Great Aunt Gigi to handle these mischievous phantoms.

Buy the new Junior Detectives adventure:

A selection of other books by Janice Spina.

The latest review for Janice’s short story collection An Angel Among Us.

This is a collection of several short stories that bring heart touching messages to all of us. I found the first story the most beautiful, but all of the stories will bring a smile of tenderness and a warm feeling to your heart. The author did a great job bringing together amazing short stories that are a pleasure to read.

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Finally Amy M. Reade is offering her book House of the Hanging Jade for just 99c until the end of the month.

About the book

A dark presence had invaded the Jorgensens’ house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .

Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life

Two of the most recent reviews for the book

I always enjoy a lighter read when I travel, and this fit the bill. Great setting of Hawaii, yummy scenes about food, and enough mystery to keep me guessing. I enjoyed the fluent writing style and the wonderful descriptions, particularly of the Hawaiian landscape and the culinary delights. There are heavier themes of marital strife, adultery, and stalking though, so the book has ample literary heft. Made my plane ride fly by.

The author captures the beautiful locale of the book, Kohala on the Island of Hawaii, with her crystalline prose and lovingly articulated imagery. Though she lives in New Jersey, she writes convincingly in the first person as a young Polynesian woman working as a personal chef. Her descriptions of the local, Asian fusion cuisine are so authentic, I can practically taste items on the menu. The book’s dramatic tension builds deliciously as well. This book is fun to read while portraying issues of fidelity and violence in personal relationships. I highly recommend it.

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Also by Amy M. Reade

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If you would like to join Amy, Janice and Sue on the shelves of the Bookstore here is the link: