Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Children – Victoria Zigler, Jann Weeratunga, Janice Spina, Bette A. Stevens and Gigi Sedlmayer

I am going to start the Christmas book promotions with children’s books, as most are in print that are posted and therefore require a longer lead time.  There are many talented authors in the bookstore who write for both children and adults and if that is the case I will also include the covers and the Amazon author page for you to explore their books further.

About Ulrike’s Christmas – Paperback and audio

Ulrike knows all about the Winter Solstice celebrations of the giants, being one himself. But what he doesn’t know is why the humans cut down whole trees, only to take them home to decorate. Other giants tell him to forget about it, but Ulrike is curious; he needs to know why they do it. Finally, when he’s puzzled over it so much his head is sore from all the thinking, he decides that this is the year he’ll figure it out, and risks a return trip to the home of the last family he watched to look for clues, despite almost being spotted last time he was there. That’s how he meets Billy, a friendly little boy who loves stories, and is happy to tell Ulrike all about tree decorating, and Santa Claus, along with a couple of stories he knows about them. Stories which Ulrike loves, and which inspire him to add some of what Billy says are Christmas celebrations to his own this Winter, in the hopes that Santa Claus will visit him too.

Buy the book or audio:

And Amazon US:

A very small selection of other books by Victoria Zigler

A recent review for Rodent Rhymes and Pussycat Poems

Victoria Zigler writes the most delightful stories and poems for young children. This collection of poems is very appealing and teaches children about the lovely animals in Victoria’s household of pets including degus and chinchillas which, I think, are less well known pets. This book features the same little degus that characterise Victoria’s other children’s books about these interesting creatures and I enjoyed meeting them again and learning more about their funny little habits and relationships.

I listened to the audio book of Puppy Poems and Rodent Rhymes, narrated by Carol Weakland and I thought she did a great job. Her reading voice is lovely and clear which is important for young children.

You can download all the other print and audio books from Amazon:

and Amazon US:

Victoria has a great many reviews on Goodreads and I suggest that you head there first to read:

Connect to Victoria via her website:

The next author’s books feature a wonderful parrot who travels, has adventures and often shares an important social message and would delight any child this Christmas is Jann Weeratunga’s seasonal stories – Polly’s Hogmanay Holiday.

Polly’s Hogmany Holiday.

About the book

Polly the Parrot, Captain Hake and the crew of The Thistle take a short break in Scotland before they resume the search for Polly’s friends in Africa. The pirates get to meet the street children and their lives are changed forever. And who is Red?

A recent review for Polly’s Hogmany Holiday

Sep 07, 2018 Kailash Moore rated it Five Stars

Polly’s hogmany holiday is an awesome childrens book, it teaches you not to trust strangers or accept sweets from any one and not to steal. teaches you to be caring and help children on the street and stop them from drug abuse. i believe the lessons in this book will make children street wise about accepting sweets from strangers especially since they look like hard rock candy. i would recommend these book adults to read this to there children.polly’s hogmany holiday is an awesome childrens book, it teaches you not to trust strangers or accept sweets from any one and not to steal. teaches you to be caring and help children on the street and stop them from drug abuse. i believe the lessons in this book will make children street wise about accepting sweets from strangers especially since they look like hard rock candy. i would recommend these book adults to read this to their children 

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

A selection of books by Jann Weeratunga

Read the reviews and link to buy the books Amazon UK: Amazon UK

and Amazon US:Amazon US

and read more reviews and follow Jann on Goodreads:

Connect to Jann via her website:

The next book which would make a great gift for children or grandchildren who love adventure stories and is from from award winning children’s author Janice Spina… It is the second book in her series Abby and Holly: Unfortunate Events.

About the book

Abby and Holly are cousins who are more like sisters. They enjoy doing everything together. Holly lives with Abby and her family in a haunted Victorian. Holly must deal with some difficult decisions in her family when unexpected and unfortunate events come to pass.

Abby is there to lend support to Holly along with two ghostly apparitions, Felicity and Minerva, who live in Abby’s house. These specters provide some magical and helpful advice along the way as they watch over Holly during this difficult time.

The girls’ friends, twins Davey and Derek Donato, from their own series, pop in to support Holly and bring some fun and comical relief to the story.

An early review for the book

I am so excited about the Abby and Holly Series for girls, but it could be equally enjoyed by boys. In Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events, Abby’s cousin, Holly, is faced with some difficult issues. While her parents are away on overseas jobs, Holly is living with Abby. Things go downhill when her parents return for a visit and her mother becomes ill. Throughout this trying time, Holly has a tremendous amount of support from Abby, her Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob, and two ghosts who live in Abby’s house, Felicity and Minerva. Of course, their friends Davey and Derek are there to help, too.

As with all of Spina’s children’s books, Unfortunate Events teaches life lessons such as respect, kindness toward others, and the importance of being polite. This book concentrates on handling the unexpected and overcoming life’s disappointments. The unexpected was Holly’s mother’s illness and hospital stay. With the love of her extended family, Holly was able to cope with her worry for her mother. Disappointment was addressed when her father announced that he was flying out to finish his work overseas. He explained to Holly the importance of fulling his obligations to his employer.

I highly recommend Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events to all middle-graders, both girls and boys. The storyline is one that will keep children interested with its elements of suspense and mystery. Though there are references to a childhood crush, they are not a major component of the story and certainly not enough to deter boys’ interest. And who doesn’t love a friendly little ghost or two! As with all the author’s children’s books, this one is true to her ideals of writing books that encourage children to read while incorporating those all-important life lessons. As a book I think every parent will want their daughters and sons to read, I give Unfortunate Events 5 stars!

Head over and buy the book:

And on Amazon UK:

A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives: The Case of the Missing Cell Phone is on offer until 18th November 99c/99p: AMAZON (sale begins 11/11/18 through 11/18/18)

Also as J.E. Spina for adults.


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 first author is  Bette A. Stevens who created the magical world of Amazing Matilda the Monarch Butterfly and it continues to delight its young readers of all ages. I think it makes a wonderful gift for any child and introduces them to the amazing natural world that surrounds them.

About Amazing Matilda

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.

In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

Get your FREE Autograph for your digital copy from author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens at

One of the recent reviews for the book

I can’t think of a better title for this book because Matilda truly was amazing. This sweet story captured me from the start with one of my favorite lines, “I want to fly! I want to see the world!”

Matilda’s determination, along with her encouraging friends the sparrow, rabbit and frog, is a lesson in going after what you want in life and never giving up. A wonderful story for children and adults, too. The illustrations were precious. I’m hoping there will be more Matilda adventures in the future.

Read all the wonderful reviews for the book:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads:

Connect to Bette via her website:

The next children’s author, whose books of adventure in the Andes for a small girl and Condors, continues to receive fantastic reviews, and the series would make an amazing gift. Talon; Connected

About Connected

Matica meets with the village eldest and wisest man, Elcano, who tells her ‘we are all connected’ to each other, Matica’s family and the Condors’.

Elcano also shares with Matica that he predicts that the Condors will be protected by all because Matica, her family, the Indians and the Condors are all connected.

It’s a heart-warming and inspirational story, intended for readers of all ages.;

One of the recent reviews for the book

VINE VOICEon October 6, 2018

Talon Connected is the continuation of the story of a young girl named Matica and her beloved condor friend, Talon. The book recaps the problem of the poachers trying to find and kill Talon and the magical leaf that helped heal Matica’s father in the previous installment. The theme of this book is that everyone and everything is connected. Elcano, the oldest man of the Indian village, makes sure that Matica realizes this. There is not a lot of action in this book, but the message of friendship, loyalty, love, and respect is a beautiful one. This is a story that is appropriate for all ages.

The other books in the series

515tsm3dql-_uy250_Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Gigi on Goodreads:

Connect to Gigi via her website:

I hope that you have enjoyed this selection of Children’s books and there will be more later in the week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Air Your Reviews – V.L. Mcbeath, Stevie Turner and Jann Weeratunga

Welcome to the first of the review posts this week. I am going to be offline for a couple of days so I am leaving these authors in your capable hands.. I would be grateful if you could share around. thanks Sally.

The first author is V.L Mcbeath with one of the recent reviews for Less Than Equals – Part Two of The Ambition & Destiny Series.

About the book

Inspired by a true story, Less Than Equals continues the epic saga of one family’s trials, tragedies, and triumphs as they seek their fortune in Victorian Era England.

GOLD Quality Mark

“This is an excellent book, well written and with impeccable timing. The ending is sure to make readers eager for the next book in the series.” BooksGoSocial

As a family struggles for survival, one woman refuses to be another cog in the machine…

Victorian Era England: Harriet is desperate to escape the clutches of her abusive uncle. As an unmarried woman with few prospects, she has little choice but to live under his roof. When a charming man comes to work for them, Harriet thinks she’s found her way out…

But after the marriage ceremony and birthing two children, Harriet’s new family still doesn’t have a home of their own. And she can’t decipher the reason why. As tensions rise, an argument with her uncle spirals out of control causing him to lock her away in an asylum…

While corrective therapy is meant to replace her headstrong ways, Harriet has other plans for her captivity. If her idea works, she could free her family from her uncle’s control once and for all…

Less Than Equals is the second book in The Ambition & Destiny Series, a Victorian Era historical fiction family saga. If you like heroines who are ahead of their time, then you’ll love the second instalment in VL McBeath’s engaging series.

The most recent review for the book

on September 29, 2017

The feminist torch is passed down from Mary to Harriet as she weds into the Wetherby clan in Author VL McBeath’s second chapter of her Ambition & Destiny Series, “Less Than Equals”, and the family could not be more at odds.

After having read “Hooks & Eyes: Part I of the Ambition & Destiny Series”, reentering the world of the Wetherby’s felt like coming home to family, for the novel reflects a familiarity and warmth that only family can provide. Soon enough, however, “Less Than Equals” becomes a real page-turner as a conflict of generations and ideas begins to impact households, causing a vast assortment of ill-tidings and tragedies to occur.

McBeath’s writing is superb and her characters reach a depth seldom attained in any of today’s modern romance novels. The grand tapestry of their lives reflects the burgeoning tide that heralded the movement away from the prim and proper matrons of the Victorian Era toward women’s equality in the modern age. In “Less Than Equals” we see women taking on more responsibilities and a greater voice in shaping the destinies of their families, and thus their own lives. This is a powerful journey that gives today’s woman a unique perspective on the tremendous, and oftentimes bitter challenges that our fore-mothers had to overcome I order to earn their places in a male-dominated world.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by V.L. Mcbeath

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow V.L. McBeath on Goodreads:

Connect to V.L. Mcbeath via her website:

The next author with new reviews to share is Stevie Turner for her latest release Mind Games new on the shelves in October.

About Mind Games

Frances Andrews is sick of her husband Martin’s addiction to pornography, and has lost her trust in him. Martin views porn as a harmless pastime, but when Frances threatens to leave, he is distraught and begs her to go with him for marriage guidance therapy. Counsellor Rhona suggests they take a holiday in the first instance, and start talking to one another again. Frances just wants out of the marriage, but finally agrees to go on a cruise…as long as they have separate cabins.

Told from both Frances and Martin’s perspectives, Mind Games shines a light on the effect that an addiction to pornography can have on a previously happy marriage.

One of the early reviews for the book

What do you do when trust has been destroyed in a marriage? Frances and Martin have had a happy marriage, except that his pornography addiction and her obsession with catching him out have rendered them unable to trust one another. He still loves her, but she’s completely disgusted by him. Is there anyway to find common ground?

I won’t give away the ending, but I thought it was interesting how Stevie Turner resolved the main conflict of the novel.

Well-written, insightful. Turner doesn’t give in to the usual conventions of romance make-up literature. She writes real people undergoing a believable crisis. Although I haven’t known any couples struggling with porn addictions, I have heard similar stories in other 12-Step groups. After a partner has deeply damaged the relationship, that partner stepping onto a better path doesn’t erase the hurt their spouse feels. You can only try to find a compromise where love remains.

Lest you think this story is a real downer, it’s not. There are some truly hilarious lines in this book. You definitely get the sense that Martin loves Frances and, if she weren’t so mad at him for repeating the same unfaithfulness over and over, she’d love him too.

I would definitely read more of Turner’s books.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Follow Stevie Turner on Goodreads:

Connect to Stevie via her website:

The third author today is Jann Weeratunga and recent reviews for Polly’s Piralympics (Paralympics for Parrots)

About the book

Polly’s pirate’s armed with their new prosthetic blades, arms and wheelchairs compete for gold. This series of books provides tools for parents and teachers to help identify life lessons for 8-10yr olds. It covers anti-bullying, it not cool to cheat, littering, listening to others, and alternative resources of power.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Gregg Davies rated it Five Stars on October 17th 2017

This review should actually be written by my son, Ryan, aged 8. I’ve been reading a bit of this book to him every night for the past month and through reading to him for years I thought he’d really tuned out and just liked my presence and voice keeping him comfort as he went to sleep and the story had become irrelevant.
Hmm what do dad’s know!!

So I finished this book by Jann this week and as he was still awake he asked what we are going to read next. I hesitated, unsure what books still remained at home that we hadn’t read. He stepped up and said ‘can we just read that one again please Dad’.

In that one sentence from Ryan lies the essence of this review. He loved the story and wanted more and it is as simple as that.

Besides being filled with great lessons for kids about not judging, bullying or singling out others for their perceived weaknesses, flaws or disabilities it was entertaining and sprinkled with humour.
I’ve promised him I will seek out the others in this series for future bedtime tales.

Well done Jann!!

Read all the reviews and connect to Amazon:

Also by Jann Weeratunga

Read the reviews and link to buy the books Amazon UK: Amazon UK

and Amazon US: Amazon US

and read more reviews and follow Jann on Goodreads:

Connect to Jann via her website:

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news of the reviews far and wide. Thanks Sally

I am offline for a couple of days so I am leaving in your capable hands….

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – How Polly Became a Pirate (Polly’s Piralympics) (Volume 1) by Jann Weeratunga

Today I am featuring Jann Weeratunga and the first children’s book in the Polly’s Piralympics series – How Polly Became a Pirate.

About the book

Polly the Baby Parrot is stolen from her nest in Africa and ends up in Tobermoray, Scotland. There in a pet shop, she is bullied by village boys until rescued by Captain Hake. Then she starts her training to become a Pirate. This interactive book is a must for parents and teachers to help them identify if a child is being bullied at school or their surrounding environment, without the child feeling they are snitching. Join Polly and her LO (Life Orientation), adventures in the Polly’s Piralympics Series – where she will look at anti-bullying; cheating; disabilities – how it’s not cool to be cruel, disabled bays are for the disabled, plus it’s ok to be different e.g. wear glasses have braces etc.; don’t drop litter; global warming, droughts, tsunamis, polar melt; rhino and elephant poaching; animal trafficking; listening to adults/others and gender issues, how boys treat girls.

The most recent reviews for the book

This is a book that takes an unusual star and makes her as loved as rabbits, kittens, and dogs, in other stories. Polly is a parrot that has been stolen from her family in Africa and has been taken to Scottland. She does not find it easy living in the pet store. She is in fact treated quite horribly. She is a lovely parrot with a missing eye and saw bullying up close and personal. It was wonderful when Captain Hake rescued her and took her away from that environment. What was, even more, fun was that he provided her with training to become a pirate like him. The series is opening up to be a wonderful one with colorful characters that prove there are more to people than their abilities and disabilities. In this book 1, Polly proves to be quite the hero, championing other animals that have been stolen away too. It is the perfect beginning for a thoughtful series.

The seven-year-old loved Polly, she did not like the bullying and was willing to share her own stories of mean comments and hurtful moments at school. That is a wonderful door of opportunity that this book offered. With the leading and encouragement of the book, parents are able to discuss that touchy subjects in a less forbidding manner. THis is the excellent age to address the power of escaping bullying.

A really nice read  on September 3, 2017

This initial book in the Polly the Pirate book series is really a very nice read. Polly is slightly disabled as she only has one eye and she is scrawnier and less developed than her siblings. Despite this she is very much loved by her parents who are devastated when she is stolen away by evil two-legged destroyers.

Polly’s honourable nature and cleverness comes to the fore when she finds herself a captive with a group of other baby animals. All the babies are very distressed at having been stolen away from their families. Polly uplifts the spirits of the babies and soon finds away to help them all escape. Unfortunately, someone has to stay behind and do the distracting of the two-legged destroyers and that someone is Polly.

I like the way the Jann brings in concepts like bullying in a very subtle way and makes them a part of the story. The character of Polly develops beautifully over the course of this book and the reader becomes very fond of her and admiring of her cleverness too. My son, Michael, who read this book with me really enjoyed this initial book and we read it in two days which is much faster than usual.

Head over to Amazon and buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

Also by Jann Weeratunga

Read the reviews and link to buy the books Amazon UK: Amazon UK

and Amazon US: Amazon US

and read more reviews and follow Jann on Goodreads:


About Jann Weeratunga

Jann Weeratunga was born in London in 1963. She has lived and worked in London, UK: Sri Lanka: UAE and Bahrain. Currently she lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

She was a Primary School Teacher and a Scout/Cub Leader for over 20 years. As well as an NGO in Sri Lanka following the Tsunami there. She had been residing in the country prior to this and on the 23rd December 2005 had been staying in Yala National Park. She waved to friends as they entered and she left, and that was the last time she saw them, as the wave took their lives.

Determined to help she then spent the next 2 years in Aragum Bay helping villagers where she could. Sewing machine and material to set up small cottage industries. Helping to rebuild a Montessori on higher ground – a place of safety where the children will always run to should another Tsunami ever hit. Providing hundred of books to set up a new library at the school, and helping to rebuild a small B&B. She chose her family as they were a mixed marriage (Singhalese and Tamil.) and no-one else wanted to help.

Polly’s Piralympics is the fifth children’s book she has written and was inspired by the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games. In his closing speech, Sir Phillip Craven told of how a young boy was reading with his mother. In the book he saw a man with an eye patch, a hook for a hand, a parrot on his shoulder and a wooden leg. When asked who it was, he said: “Well he has only one leg, so he must be an Olympian.” Such was the strength of the London 2012 Paralympics that it changed peoples’ perceptions of disability forever. The speech made her both laugh and cry and gave her the inspiration for this series of books which are both unique in concept as well as content.

Connect to Jann Weeratunga


I hope you will head over and find out more about these wonderful children’s books..thanks Sally