Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas -#Doghealth, #Family #fantasy #Romantic Thriller with Rachele Baker DVM, Judith Barrow, C.S. Boyack and Pamela S. Wight


Over the week I have shared some of the children’s and YA books in the Cafe and Bookstore, and I will come back to those in the next week. However, today I wanted to give you a mixed genre posts, with something for everyone.

Something for Dog Lovers.

Keeping our pets healthy is as important as our own health.. If you or someone you know has a dog as a pet, this guide would be an invaluable gift for Christmas. Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy by Rachele Baker, DVM.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the excellent reviews for the book

I found the information to be very easy to understand and well organized. It is the very essentials that must be learned by any dog owner, hopefully BEFORE they find their furever puppy!

With all the information on the market (i.e, television) about dog food, I found the chapter on nutrition to be the most beneficial information! I am, however, a very strong opponent to feeding dogs people food of any type, not just those that are known to be harmful.

Another very important chapter is the one on vaccinations. There is a lot of debate these days on the need for booster shots of vaccines given to dogs as puppies. I am so glad that Dr. Baker made clear that the booster shots are absolutely necessary to keep your dog(s) protected!

I strongly encourage all dog owners to pick up a copy of Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy by Rachele Baker, DVM. Whether your furever friend is young or old, Dr. Baker has excellent advice to assist you in the care of your dog!

I give Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy by Rachele Baker, DVM five juicy dog bones, umm, I mean Room With Books cups of coffee!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK

Also by Rachele Baker, DVM.

One of the recent reviews for Eighteen Months to Live.

A must read  on 22 September 2018

An amazingly inspiring story of one woman’s journey throughout her time living with cancer. Certainly made me view the world differently. Could certainly make a difference to oncologists and patients and their families of this particular cancer. I felt like I walked her journey with her.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Rachele Baker, DVM on Goodreads

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

Something for lovers of family sagas….Judith Barrow and the sequel to her trilogy about the Howarth family – A Hundred Tiny Threads which I can also personally recommend.  Also if you go to Honno which publish Judith’s books you will find her print copies on sale: https://www.honno.co.uk/honno-gift-guide

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

A Hundred Tiny Threads, Judith Barrow’s prequel to her great saga about the Howarth family, is a brilliant read!

The characters are well-rounded and credible, the period detail first-class but unobtrusive, the prose masterful and compelling.

The central character is Winifred and she is so well-drawn we feel all her emotions as if they’re our own. She suffers under the spiteful control of her bitter mother but has the courage to make a stand for the things she believes are right. As in life, some of the people who impact on her are positive forces such as her father and grandmother, others are more destructive and malevolent. Winifred experiences hardship, tragedy, happiness and love and what happens to her matters because we know her so well.

The novel focuses on the decade that includes the fight for women to have the vote and some control over their own lives, the Second World War, the troubles in Ireland and the outbreak of Spanish Flu. These form the backdrop to the more personal story of a young woman and her struggles to cope with life in such tempestuous times.

I loved it and am surprised there aren’t more reviews here. I recommend you buy a copy now!

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

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

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

For Sci-fi/Fantasy lovers…the novella The Hat by C.S. Boyack.

About The Hat

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

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the bookFun read!  on July 5, 2018

The Hat by C. S. Boyack is a novella written in the speculative fiction genre with elements of supernatural, fantasy, and horror. It is a fun, fast pace read.

Lizzie’s grandmother died leaving her alone with the responsibility of paying their apartment’s rent among other debts. Lizzie worked two jobs to pay the bills, but it was not enough. She loved her grandmother and wanted something to remember her by, so she went to her grandma’s antique shop to find a keepsake. Her greedy uncle refused to give her anything, so when she left the shop she grabbed a random box from a van, parked outside, loaded with her grandmother’s things.

When she returned home, she opened the box and found a hat, but this was no ordinary hat. The hat talked and had magic powers. The adventure began when Lizzie donned the hat.

I enjoyed this book, especially the interaction between Lizzie and the hat. I recommend this novella to anyone who enjoys reading speculative fiction, sprinkled with fantasy, supernatural, and horror. 

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

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

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

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

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

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

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

For those who love a fast paced romantic thriller…look no further than  Pamela S. Wight with her fast-paced The Right Wrong Man.

About The Right Wrong Man

Meredith Powers’ career as a medical editor seems safe enough as she searches for love with the right man. But she is pulled suddenly from her serene world in Boston to one of intrigue, kidnapping, and murder in the Caribbean.

Meredith’s simple life becomes terribly complicated when she works with an author who drags her into a drug heist. The reappearance of her ex-boyfriend, the D.E.A. agent, and the stunning response from her current accountant boyfriend all lead to complications, danger, and more than a few questions.

Meredith wonders if she really knows the people who surround her in her daily life. Her parents, her best friends, her boss, even her lover. She discovers that almost everyone holds secrets, and the unearthing of those cover-ups lead to mystery and danger that changes everything, and everyone, she thought she knew.

One of the recent reviews for the book

In Pamela Wight’s The Right Wrong Man (2013), Meredith Powers is accustomed to spending her days helping authors turn out polished manuscripts. She’s good at it, one of the best, but not so much at running her love life. She falls body and spirit for a man named Parker Webb who disappears frequently for job-related work that takes him to dangerous parts of the world doing dangerous things. Finally, she can’t stand the idea that she might lose him, that he would disappear in some foreign country and she’d never again hear from him, so she dumps.

To recover from his unpredictability, she moves in with a handsome and dependable accountant. Parker reappears, filled with warnings of her safety telling her not to trust anyone, telling her his cover was blown and he isn now running for his life, and within days, she is kidnapped. The handsome FBI agent who holds her captive tells her a different story about Parker, of a rogue agent who fell to the dark side and that the US government needs her help capturing him. It is at this point she realizes she really does love Parker, doesn’t believe this man who claims to be FBI, and commits herself to discovering the truth and saving Parker.

Highly recommended for those who need to escape their lives for at least a few hours.

Read more of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Right-Wrong-Man-Pamela-Wight-ebook/dp/B00AYNQ7EG

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Right-Wrong-Man-Pamela-Wight-ebook/dp/B00AYNQ7EG/

Also by Pamela S.Wight

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6

Read more reviews and follow Pamela on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7042822.Pamela_Wight

Connect to Pamela via her website: https://roughwighting.net/

Thank you for dropping in today and there will be more Christmas book gift suggestions on Monday.. thanks Sally

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, Teri Polen


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore and the first author celebrating a recent review is Judith Barrow for the sequel to her trilogy about the Howarth family – A Hundred Tiny Threads which I can also personally recommend.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

A Hundred Tiny Threads, Judith Barrow’s prequel to her great saga about the Howarth family, is a brilliant read!

The characters are well-rounded and credible, the period detail first-class but unobtrusive, the prose masterful and compelling.

The central character is Winifred and she is so well-drawn we feel all her emotions as if they’re our own. She suffers under the spiteful control of her bitter mother but has the courage to make a stand for the things she believes are right. As in life, some of the people who impact on her are positive forces such as her father and grandmother, others are more destructive and malevolent. Winifred experiences hardship, tragedy, happiness and love and what happens to her matters because we know her so well.

The novel focuses on the decade that includes the fight for women to have the vote and some control over their own lives, the Second World War, the troubles in Ireland and the outbreak of Spanish Flu. These form the backdrop to the more personal story of a young woman and her struggles to cope with life in such tempestuous times.

I loved it and am surprised there aren’t more reviews here. I recommend you buy a copy now!

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

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

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

The next authors with recent reviews are Jane Risdon and Christina Jones for their collaborative novel Only One Woman.

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

One of the recent reviews for the book

An interesting read I wasn’t sure how it would work with two authors, but it is cleverly written like a diary of the two girls Renza and Stella who become involved with Scott the sexy guy from the band. Set in the late sixties there are lots of references to music and magazines and general things of these times. Renza can’t believe her luck when the band move in next door to her. Her life isn’t that exciting and she has to help her Mum a lot with the rest of her large family when all of a sudden she’s popular with the girls at school who want to hang out in her garden to see the boys. After falling for Scott Renza unfortunately has to move to Germany with her Dad as he is in the army. Stella comes into Scott’s life slightly older then Renza who will Scott choose. It was good reading the story through the eyes of both girls in their diary. I won’t give any spoilers to say who Scott ends up with. I wonder if there will be a second book following on so we can see if he made the right decision.

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

Read more reviews and follow Jane on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

Connect to Jane Risdon via her blog:  https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

A small selection of books by Christina Jones.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

Connect to Christina via her blog: https://christinajones-writing.blogspot.ie/

To finish off today a recent review for The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen.

About The Gemini Connection.

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

on September 1, 2018

This novel was fantastic. I’m not a big science fiction fan, but this one grabbed my attention and kept it through the whole story. (I was directing a play while reading this book, and I was often caught reading the book backstage before performances to see what would happen next.) I loved the complicated relationship between the twin brothers Simon and Evan and that the narrative goes back and forth between them AND back and forth in time. They also have a subconscious bond to each other that is explained well and essential to the plot. Simon is a pure genius. Evan is the athlete, and in this futuristic world, the parents value the brains over the brawn, which is an interesting twist. Another interesting twist to this book is the introduction of a LGBT plot line. It is shown in such a healthy, positive way, and I loved it.

I adored the fact that problem Evan had with the relationship when he discovers it was not that it was homosexual but that he didn’t like the guy because of a long-standing rivalry. There is a lot of emotional tension throughout the story, and the characters are fully formed. Evan has the coolest job. Through technology, he is able to go into the minds of people and eradicate their nightmares. This reminded me of an old 80s movie I loved called Dreamscape. I highly recommend this book for scifi and fantasy readers 12 and older.

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

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

Also by Teri Polen

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

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

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

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that if you are looking for your next book to read you will find plenty to choose from these talented authors. Thanks Sally

There are approximately 500 books on display in the Cafe and Bookstore…and many authors have more than 7 releases that you can link to on Amazon to view and buy. So if you are stuck for your next book… then check them out.. 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #reviewers – Wednesday 10th October 2018 – Sue Vincent, Judith Barrow and Lizanne Lloyd


On Monday I was the guest of Sue Vincent  on the subject of old age and the preferred state of Second Childhood.  What I did not know at the time was that I had missed a post of Sue’s on the same topic when I was unplugged in September… Just to confirm that great minds think alike (in contradiction to “Fools never Differ”) I hope you will head over and enjoy Sue’s take on this issue… take your toys and video games with you.

Frolicking Nick Verron

Frolicking ~ Nick Verron

With the unconscious wisdom of youth, my son decided that he would give me a games console. It is not, perhaps, the obvious gift for a woman about to enter her seventh decade, but then, he assures me that as I am a ‘tweenager’, it is entirely appropriate.

When the boys were young we always made sure they were up to date with the growing technological revolution. From the blocky arcade games of the ancient Atari to our first home computer, they soon became confident with consoles and keyboards and we played as a family, working out the puzzles, learning how to share, to be patient and to persevere in the days when games took ages to load and progress could not be saved.

Spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, foresight, reaction times and logic were all well-served, Games that now look primitive were often complex and demanding and to complete them was a real triumph. We have fond memories of those times. The software available for the Commodore 64 and the old Sinclair Spectrum even allowed you, with a little vary basic knowledge, to build your own games. Such violence as there was tended to be of the ‘Tom and Jerry’ variety, with little or no relation to reality and gameplay was often as much of an intellectual challenge as a test of manual dexterity. We hoped that introducing the boys to technology early would stand them in good stead in later years and that has indeed proved to be the case.

I am decades behind the times where technology is concerned these days. Modern consoles do more than play games, it seems, allowing you to access your PC, play music and films and do much of what I now do at the computer from the comfort of the sofa, which can only be a good thing… as long as the dog lets me share. All the skills that early gaming honed for the boys are ones that need to be maintained in later years… and oddly enough, I kept the best of the old games. So, in an unexpected role reversal, my son is giving his tweenage mother a games console for her birthday.

Please head over and read the rest of Sue’s insightful post: https://thesilenteye.co.uk/2018/09/09/second-childhood/

Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Buy: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W
Blog: http://scvincent.com/

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.

prof-pic1

The next blog post is from Judith Barrow who shares a story from one of her creative writing students, which will resonate with any of us who remember black and white televisions and snow on the screen… Meet Trish who is a very talented writer.

The Rat in the Python #MondayBlogs #Fifties #Memoirs #Humour

Many of you will have enjoyed Trish’s writing here before. She is one of my many talented students that I’m privileged to tutor each week. Hope you equally relish this dip into the past. For some of you it’s a small history lesson, for others, a memory. I am not saying which group I belong to!!

The following words belong to Trish…

If you haven’t heard of a liberty bodice, believe that half-a-crown is something to do with impoverished royalty and never had the experience of slapping a television to stop the grainy black and white picture from rolling, then this book is probably not for you.

It is intended for us Baby Boomers who, in the stability following the Second World War, formed a statistical bulge in the population python. It is a personal snapshot of a time that is as mystifying to my children as the Jurassic Era -and just as unrecognisable.

My intention is to nudge some long-forgotten memories to the surface, test your own recollections and provide statistics to put it all in context.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

The Rat in the Python

Chapter One The House

It would be fair to say that most houses in this country pre-date our generation and so this topic should present few surprises.

However the external appearance is deceptive. We’ve all seen old postcards of towns and can instantly recognise many of the buildings. But what of the insides?

They were different.

In my day none of my friends had fitted carpets and central heating was unheard of. We did have carpets, and the ones I remember were hideously patterned, but they were square or rectangular, circular or oval and housewives in a hurry could lift a corner and sweep the dust and dirt under them.

Heating

We had a coal fire downstairs and my mother would plait and weave strips of newspaper, lay them like a nest in the grate and build a carefully-constructed pyramid of coal in the centre in and around more of these strips. Then she’d light the paper. If it looked as though it was going to sulk and go out she’d produce a sheet of galvanised zinc like a flat shield that she’d hold over the front of the open fire to ‘draw’ it up and once it was going properly we’d feed it with great hunks of coal the size of bread loaves that you could later split open with the poker.

My father would hold the paper he was reading in front of a flagging fire to quickly perk it up. This wasn’t always successful. A dark patch would appear in the middle of the newsprint before the hastily dropped paper burst into flames. Occasionally we’d use a toasting fork to dangle bits of bread in front of the fire but conditions had to be just right. Too soon after the addition of fresh coal and you had a brittle piece of bread with smoked edges; wait until it was too hot and the bread itself would flame and char. There was also a knack to balancing the bread on the fork so that as large a flat surface as possible presented itself to the heat. I lacked this knack. The bread would tear around the prongs and slide down towards the handle or I’d have it so delicately balanced that it would fall off into the gritty ashes or the blaze itself

Paraffin heaters were also popular; ugly great brutes that reeked and smoked but put out an impressive bit of heat. When I first heard ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ I thought of these heaters and even now I can see the blue ring of flames that had to be set at just the right height to balance heat against pollution. And if you’ve lived in a house with a paraffin heater you won’t need me to remind you of that all-pervasive, oily smell. 

Carry on reading this very entertaining post and enjoy the nostalgia of remembering some of the things you don’t miss and those days: https://judithbarrowblog.com/2018/10/08/the-rat-in-the-python-mondayblogs-fifties-memoirs-humour/

Judith Barrow – Buy: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6
Blog: judithbarrowblog.com/Goodreads: Judith on Goodreads

Now time for a book review from Lizanne Lloyd –  Gift Horse by Jan Ruth

A time-slip novel about the choices women make, the healing power of horses, and the devastating consequences of human error.

Imagine living eighteen years of your life around a mistake…

Caroline Walker’s daughter suffers a horrific riding accident. Her distraught parents wonder if she’ll ever walk again, let alone ride. And when Mollie’s blood group is discovered as rare, her husband offers to donate blood. Except Ian is not a match. In fact, it’s unlikely he’s Mollie’s father.

Eighteen years previously, Caroline had a one-night stand with Irish rock star, Rory O’Connor. Caroline fell pregnant. Deeply flawed boyfriend, Ian, was overjoyed. And Caroline’s parents were simply grateful that their daughter was to marry into the rich, influential Walker family. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Caroline turns to Rory’s friend Connor; and although his almost spiritual connection with his horses appears to be the balm she needs, Caroline cannot forget Rory, or her youth – both lost to a man she never loved. Eighteen years on and after surviving cancer Rory lives as a virtual recluse in the Welsh mountains. Through his well-meaning but interfering sister, he is shocked to discover he has a teenage daughter. Or does he? As the truth begins to unravel, Caroline finds herself faced with a complex trail of moral dilemma.

Someone has made a terrible mistake… someone is going to get hurt…

My Review

Caroline has it all, a rich successful husband, a large beautiful home and a daughter they both love. But Mollie’s terrible accident while competing on her horse, Sahara Sun, exposes cracks in their apparently happy life and Caroline’s past catches up with her. Can she take Mollie from Ian, the father she loves so much, and will Mollie ever forgive her secrecy?

Read the rest of Lizanne’s review for the book: https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/2018/09/29/gift-horse-by-jan-ruth-newrelease-bookreview/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Sue Coletta and Audrey Driscoll.


Welcome to the Friday author update with more talented authors from the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for their books.

The first update today is for A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow, which I can also personally recommend.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

Story-telling at its very best  TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 September 2018

It’s wholly irrational on my part, but I frequently shy away from books that I believe to be part of a “saga” – with some ridiculous expectation that they will be lesser in some way than the contemporary issues-based fiction that tends to make up much of my reading list. I hate to think what I might have been missing out on – this book was just stunning. If you’re looking for issues, you’ll certainly find them here, set against a social and political background vividly and compellingly described. The research that went into this book must have been immense, transformed into its vivid settings and the authentic portrayal of life of the time.

It’s a sweeping story that takes in life in the slums (and among those who perceive themselves rather more genteel), the rise of the Suffragette movement and the extraordinarily violent reaction to it, moves to the front during World War 1, travels to Ireland with the Black and Tans, and takes in the very different lives of those in the countryside. There are harrowing images in this book that seared themselves into my memory – and others that moved me deeply. But while its scale and reach took my breath away, at its heart it’s a story of two individuals, Winifred and Bill – the twists and turns of their own small lives, the events that changed the world and the lives of everyone they touched seen through their eyes and from their unique perspectives.

The characterisation is wonderful. Winifred is something of a heroine for her time, endeavouring to escape the control of her mother, both warm-hearted and immensely likeable. Bill is rather more of an enigma – his early attraction to and obsession with the lovely shop girl turning into something altogether darker and considerably more menacing. There’s an immense skill in retaining a reader’s compassion for a character when sometimes repelled by their actions – but the author certainly achieves it, making the relationship element of the story totally compelling. The book’s structure, with their alternating stories, drives the narrative at considerable pace, but also serves to bring the key characters vividly to life. Every supporting character is drawn in perfect detail – the excitement of the forbidden and different through Honora and Conal, the family relationships that are so complex and challenging. Every exchange, every moment of dialogue, is absolutely real, moving the story on and illuminating the characters, who have absolute historical authenticity.

When I emerged at the end of this book – during the reading, my immersion was total – it was with a sense of having experienced it all first hand, and of having deeply felt every moment. This was story-telling at its very best… and a book that will long linger in my memory.

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

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

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

The next author with glowing reviews is Sue Coletta for her latest release, Scathed, Grafton County Series #3.

About Scathed

On a picturesque fall morning in Grafton County, New Hampshire, a brutal murder rocks the small town of Alexandria. In the backyard of a weekend getaway cabin, a dead woman is posed in red-satin, with two full-bloomed roses in place of eyes.

In her hand, a mysterious envelope addressed to Sheriff Niko Quintano. Inside, Paradox vows to kill again if his riddle isn’t solved within 24 hours.

With so little time and not enough manpower, Niko asks his wife for help. But Crime Writer Sage Quintano is dealing with her own private nightmare. Not only did she find massive amounts of blood on the mountain where she and her family reside, but a phone call from the past threatens her future—the creepy mechanical voice of John Doe, the serial killer who murdered her twin sister.

Together, can Niko and Sage solve the riddle in time to save the next victim? Or will the killer win this deadly game of survival?

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Paul Dale Anderson 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced thrill ride  August 25, 2018

Each of Sue’s novels is better than the last. With their dogs Colt and Ruger, Sheriff Niko Quintano and Sage, his best-selling authoress wife with infant son Noah in tow, are the Nick and Nora Charles of rural New Hampshire. Wherever they are, there’s always a mystery to solve and a murderer to apprehend. And. of course, the plot is always thickened by the unorthodox Frankie Campanelli, Niko’s chief deputy.

These are the essential elements we’ve come to expect in a Grafton County series novel, and Scathed doesn’t disappoint. A brutal serial killer who calls himself “Paradox” challenges Niko to solve a riddle or he’ll kill another person. Niko has to enlist Sage’s aid to try to solve the riddle in time, but Paradox has no intention of stopping no matter what. There are mysteries within mysteries, and the tension builds. A quick read from a writer I admire.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Scathed-Grafton-County-Sue-Coletta-ebook/dp/B07FH7Y8RD/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scathed-Grafton-County-Sue-Coletta-ebook/dp/B07FH7Y8RD/

A selection of books by Sue Coletta

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

Read more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14078869.Sue_Coletta

Connect to Sue via her website/blog: www.suecoletta.com

Now a recent review for supernatural/paranormal author Audrey Driscoll, for Book 3 of the Herbert West series – Islands of the Gulf Volume 2 – The Treasure

About the book

Abandoned and abused, young Herbert West resorts to drastic measures to survive. At Miskatonic University, he becomes a scientist who commits crimes and creates monstrosities. Decades later, haunted by his past, he finds safety as Dr. Francis Dexter of Bellefleur Island, but his divided nature threatens those he loves and forces him to face the truth about his healing powers.

More Details: Seeking relief from grief and illness in the refuge of Bellefleur Island, Francis Dexter relives in memory his early years when his name was Herbert West. To survive his mother’s disappearance, the capricious attentions of his father and the brutalities of his brothers, young Herbert makes himself into a juvenile strategist and warrior of vengeance.

Turning to science as a solace for emotional turmoil, Herbert studies medicine at Miskatonic University in Arkham. As both student and physician, he pursues forbidden experiments with single-minded determination, seeking to discover the secrets of life and death. The Great War presents West with a great opportunity, but in that maelstrom of violence he crosses the frontier of rationalism into the territory of the bizarre.

Recoiling from these poisoned memories, Francis Dexter turns to his years on Bellefleur Island and relives his tumultuous relationship with the artist Julian Vernon. For the first time since his troubled childhood, he allows himself to become emotionally attached to another human being, but the idyll is eroded by depression, drugs and jealousy and Dexter’s choices result in tragedy.

Saved and supported by Margaret Bellgarde, Dexter allows himself to be drawn into her family to recover from illness and sorrow. Until a day in July when his past confronts him and forces him to face the truth about his role as physician and healer.

One of the recent reviews for The Treasure

ACFlory 5.0 out of 5 stars Deeper and deeper August 19, 2018

Book 3 begins as a series of flashbacks to Herbert West’s childhood as he recovers from the illness that almost finished him off in book 2. I love character driven stories and I found book 3 incredibly satisfying. It’s not often that all the parts of an over-arching story are equally good. These are. Very good.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J1ROTVY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Islands-Gulf-Treasure-Herbert-West-ebook/dp/B00J1ROTVY

A selection of books by Audrey Driscoll

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Audrey-Driscoll/e/B00J7X7QVC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audrey-Driscoll/e/B00J7X7QVC

Read more reviews and follow Audrey on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4202146.Audrey_Driscoll

Connect to Audrey via her website: www.audreydriscoll.com

Thank you very much for visiting today and I hope you have found a book to read from one of these talented authors… thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the #Reviewers – James J. Cudney for Angie Dokos, Judith Barrow #RBRT for JJ Toner and M.J Mallon for Carrot Ranch Anthology


This series is aimed at promoting and celebrating 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.. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/smorgasbord-new-series-starting-this-saturday-meet-the-book-reviewers/

  • 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 reviewer is author James J. Cudney  who has posted his recommendation of MacKenzie’s Distraction by Angie Dokos

Here is an extract from the post and please follow the link to read the whole review

Mackenzie’s been hurt in the past and steers clear of relationships especially when the man seems too good to be real or true. But in this case, before she even meets him, her life is traumatized when her mother is a car accident and struggles to survive. Though Mackenzie has friends and other family to help her handle the huge blow, it’s not quite as simple as all that. Her mother’s hospitalization leads Mackenzie to learn a few deep-rooted family secrets, meet friends from a parent’s former life, and discover things about herself she never knew existed. That’s when the potential man of her dreams walks into her life, but is she too crushed and shocked to accept it? Let’s not forget the sudden onset of several available and potentially great catches who are very interested in getting to know her. Who will she choose, if any? Now that’s where the plot of this book takes off… weaving readers on a very emotional and manic ride with the unfortunately impacted young woman just looking to heal.

I’m normally a plot, then character guy. In this book, though the plot is important, it’s less about what the secrets and actions are and more about how Mackenzie deals with all the repercussions. It was a great change of pace for me as you had to settle in, listen, and understand why Mackenzie reacted the way she did in each instance. I didn’t always agree, and I sometimes got angry with her for what seemed like an unnecessary or spoiled adolescent attitude; however, I also haven’t suffered through the craziness that hits her in the span of a few days. In that sense, she certainly tries to find a balance, and readers can easily connect with her on the journey. I vividly recall thinking, if she didn’t accept Trevor’s love and attention, I’d certainly volunteer to stand in. (I won’t tell you if she does or doesn’t, but it’s complex!) He was practically perfect in every way, what exactly was stopping her? Well… that’s where psychology and personality truly come into play and drive her responses. It takes a truly analytical, sensitive, and courageous mind to deliver this kind of story. Kudos to Dokos.

Head over and read the rest of the review: https://thisismytruthnow.com/2018/06/08/book-review-mackenzies-distraction-by-angie-dokos/

The ReviewerJames J. Cudney

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Books by James J. Cudney – Click cover for Amazon

Angie Dokos is in the Cafe and Bookstore

Angie Dokos, Buy: www.amazon.com/dp/B01BL4H20E
Blog: https://angiedokos.wordpress.com/

The next review is for The Black Orchestra by JJ Toner and is reviewed by Judith Barrow as a member of the Rosie Amber Review Team. An excellent example of a constructive review.

28139814Here is an extract from the post.

I have to say I struggled with this book and it took a long time to read, mainly because the beginning is convoluted and littered with so many characters that each time I picked it up again, I needed to go back to see who was who, what rank they held and and where they fitted into the Nazi regime.

However, around three quarters through, the book became easier to read and was interesting.

After reading the first part of the book, and to be fair to the author, I knew I needed to make notes on what was working for me and what didn’t. (it’s the first time I’ve done this) So here are my thoughts:

I know little about the intricacies of the Nazi regime during WW2 so I had to take the military rankings, the way the regime worked and the historical details within the book at face value Though some of the scenes did seem a little far fetched.

I felt that many of the characters deserved more ‘fleshing out’ because of the part they play in the story. The protagonist, Kurt Müller, grows more rounded as the story unfolds and becomes easier to empathise with. The female characters, Gudren, Liesal and Tania are well portrayed but I felt that some of the sections they were each in could have been given more depth. The descent of Kurt’s friend, Alex, is well written and reflects the breakdown of the society at the time. I would have liked more to be shown of the character of main antagonist, Uncle Reinhard; his function in the plot is enormous but, for me, he wasn’t layered enough.

You can read the rest of Judith’s review here: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/rosies-bookreview-team-rbrt-ww2-mystery-the-black-orchestra-by-jj-toner/

More about the author J.J Toner: JJ Toner Amazon Author page

Judith is also an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Judith Barrow – Buy: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6
Blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

Now a review for an anthology.. The Congress of Rough Writers – Flash Fiction including stories by Sacha Black, Norah Colvin, Charli Mills, and Sarah Brentyn, reviewed by Marjorie Mallon.

Here is an extract from Marjorie’s post.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

My Review

Thank you to Charli Mills for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and very well structured. It delivers a wide range of flash fiction and so much more. The anthology succeeds in celebrating the wonderful sense of community that is Carrot Ranch and the benefits of participating, therein. Charli Mills has created a welcoming, nurturing community of ‘Rough Writers,’ who develop through practice – the necessary skills to polish their flash fiction writing, overcoming the challenging constraint of 99 words.

Read the rest of the review: https://mjmallon.com/2018/06/09/abrsc-review-the-congress-of-rough-writers-flash-fiction-anthology-vol-1-congress-of-the-rough-writers-flash-fiction-anthology/

Marjorie Mallon is in the Cafe and Bookstore.

M.J.Mallon, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/
Website: https://mjmallon.com/

Thanks for popping in today and if you have recently reviewed a book and would like to be featured here, then please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com 

You can find details of the Cafe and Bookstore and the free promotions: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Book Reviewers – Barb Taub for Judith Barrow, M.J. Mallon for Annette Rochelle Aben, Linda Hill for Katherine Clements and Liz LLoyd #RBRT for Rachel Walkley


Welcome to this week’s Meet the Reviewers…

This series is aimed at promoting and celebrating 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.. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/smorgasbord-new-series-starting-this-saturday-meet-the-book-reviewers/

And here is last week’s post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-meet-the-reviewers-judith-barrow-for-thorne-moore-balroop-singh-for-deborah-a-bowman-robbie-cheadle-for-john-w-howell-and-cathy-ryan-for-abigail-osborne/

  • 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 reviewer today is Barb Taub with her views on the wonderful Howarth Family Saga by Judith Barrow. A series that I have read and enjoyed very much. Here is the start of Barb’s post and I hope you will head over and read the entire review for the whole series.

We’ve all read epic family sagas—sweeping multi-generational tales like The Thorn Birds, The Godfather, Roots, the Star Wars franchise, and anything remotely connected to the British Monarchy. So as I read Judith Barrow’s Howarth Family trilogy, I kept trying to slot them into those multigenerational tropes:

  • First generation, we were supposed to see the young protagonist starting a new life with a clean slate, perhaps in a new country.
  • The next generation(s) are all about owning their position, fully assimilated and at home in their world.
  • And the last generation is both rebel and synthesis, with more similarities to the first generation made possible by the confidence of belonging from the second one.

But the complex, three-dimensional miniatures I met in the first three books of the trilogy stubbornly refused to align with those tropes. First of all, there’s Mary Howarth—the child of parents born while Queen Victoria was still on the throne—who is poised between her parents’ Victorian constraints, adjustment to a world fighting a war, and their own human failures including abuse, alcoholism, and ignorance.When Pattern of Shadows begins in 1944, war-fueled anti-German sentiment is so strong, even the King has changed the British monarchy’s last name from Germanic Saxe-Coburg to Windsor. Mary’s beloved brother Tom is imprisoned because of his conscientious objector status, leaving their father to express his humiliation in physical and emotional abuse of his wife and daughters. Her brother Patrick rages at being forced to work in the mines instead of joining the army, while Mary herself works as a nurse treating German prisoners of war in an old mill now converted to a military prison hospital.

Mary’s family and friends are all struggling to survive the bombs, the deaths, the earthshaking changes to virtually every aspect of their world. We’ve all seen the stories about the war—plucky British going about their lives in cheerful defiance of the bombs, going to theaters, sipping tea perched on the wreckage, chins up and upper lips stiff in what Churchill called “their finest hour”. That wasn’t Mary’s war.

Read the rest of the post and review at Barb’s blog: https://barbtaub.com/2018/05/22/hundreds-of-tiny-threads-bookreview-of-the-howarth-family-trilogy-by-judithbarrow77-family-histfic-tuesdaybookblog/

Judith Barrow is in the Cafe Bookstore.

Judith Barrow – Buy: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6
Blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

Barb Taub is also in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Barb Taub, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Taub/e/B00EZP9BS8/
Website: https://barbtaub.com

Next we have Marjorie Mallon reviewing the latest poetry collection by Annette Rochelle Aben, A Haiku Perspective 2018.

An extract from Marjorie’s

This is an enchanting book of poetry. So many wonderful haiku! I love short form poetry and Annette Rochelle Aben’s book covers a multitude of poetic topics in a warm and inviting way.

The first poem Strings is a poignant haiku love story. I read this particular poem several times and seemed to take more from it on each reading. I read it down and then from the bottom up! The family dynamic in this poem changes when a new baby is welcomed and Annette Rochelle Aben captures this to perfection in this thought-provoking poem. The message within will no doubt resonate with many. Love can be the most exquisite emotion. But, there are many loves. Can the love of a child be so consuming that your partner, wife, or husband feels neglected? I loved how this was expressed in a musical way.

Read the rest of Marjorie’s review: https://mjmallon.com/2018/05/24/book-review-a-haiku-perspective-2018-annette-rochelle-aben/

Marjorie Mallon is an author in the cafe and bookstore

M.J.Mallon, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/
Website: https://mjmallon.com/

As is Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY
Blog: www.annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com

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

annettebooku_cover_for_kindle6124zpvlnhl-_uy250_

 

The next reviewer is Linda Hill... proprietor of Linda’s Book Bag, and congratulations are in order for winning Best Overall Blog at this year’s Blogger’s Bash in London.

In this post Linda reviews The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements. You can read all of the review by clicking the link at the bottom of the extract… and to buy the book click the cover.

The Coffin PathMaybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.
My Review of The Coffin Path

Living at Scarcross has never been easy for Mercy, but it is about to get considerably harder.

Now, I must confess that I don’t usually read books marketed in the ghost or horror genre as I find them too unsettling, but The Coffin Path was a perfect read for me with just the right amount of creepiness and supernatural to disturb and entertain me. Hardcore horror readers might find it wasn’t horrific enough, but I loved it.

The quality of writing is outstanding. There’s a sophistication to Katherine Clements’s prose style that draws in the reader and that is completely convincing so that I felt I was really able to understand the 1600s when the book is set, and to comprehend its superstitions and practices making for a realistic and powerful reading experience. There’s such realism alongside the more supernatural elements so that this narrative is finely balanced and nuanced.

Read the rest of Linda Hill’s review of the book: https://lindasbookbag.com/2018/05/23/the-coffin-path-by-katherine-clements/

The next reviewer is Elizabeth (Liz) Lloyd, who as well as reviewing books on her own blog Lizanne Lloyd, is a member of the Rosie Amber Book Review Team #RBRT.  This review was featured on Rosie Amber’s site earlier in the week. It is for The Women of Heachley Hall by Rachel Walkley

38910952When book illustrator, Miriam Chambers, inherits Great Aunt Felicity’s Victorian mansion in the Norfolk countryside, she discovers it is a poisoned chalice. Either she must live in the run-down cold building for a year and a day or it will be auctioned for charity. Since she is able to work at home she decides to accept the challenge and she employs some local tradesmen to improve the facilities a little. But it is a lonely house set in overgrown woodland and Miriam is grateful when a strange-looking young man comes to the door offering to chop wood and do odd jobs. As the creaks and bangs around the house alarm her, she is pleased when Charles, the reticent young man, provides company.

Increasingly Miriam tries to find the reason for the conditions imposed in her Great Aunt’s will. Was there foul play when she had her accident and what happened years before when part of the house burnt down? This beautifully written mystery weaves a spell around the house and the people connected to it. It is easy to empathise with Miriam but there is a surprising conclusion which you are unlikely to predict. Reminding me of the books of Kate Morton, this is a story for lovers of ghost stories, history and romance. The introductory quote.

“One lives in hope of becoming a memory”

Is an apt description of this haunting story, about the nature of love.

Head over and read the rest of the review: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/rosies-bookreview-team-rbrt-womensfiction-the-women-of-heachley-hall-by-racheljwalkley-3/

If you review books then if you would like to become one of Rosie’s respected Book Review Team, here are the details: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/join-rosies-book-review-team/

Thank you for popping in today and if you have written a book review on your blog or for Amazon in the last month then please let me know. Thanks Sally

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Jacquie Biggar, Natalie Ducey, Dan Alatorre, Carol Balawyder and Judith Barrow


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week is Jacquie Biggar who released her latest book in time for Valentine’s Day this year.. But being Jacquie.. you can be sure it is time for romance any time of the year. Valentine: A Hearts & Kisses Romance.

About the book.

Take two humans who pretend they can’t stand each other and one matchmaking canine and the fun is nonstop!

Val Hodgins is on the road to success. His architect firm handles some of the biggest contracts along the western seaboard. He doesn’t have time to babysit his aunt’s aging house or her pain in the butt dog, but when she falls ill with pneumonia he drops everything to go to her aid.

Sierra Johnson’s dreams of owning a catering company go up in smoke thanks to a bad choice in boyfriends. Now, she’s stuck working for a tyrannical boss, care-taking an aging townhouse, and being tormented by the owner’s aggravating, caustic, way-too-attractive nephew.

Will these two get over their prejudices in time to realize love comes without a price tag?

One of the recent reviews for the book

If you are looking for an endearing light-hearted romance look no further and try “Valentine: A Hearts & Kisses” romance by Jacquie Biggar. Valentine Hodgins, our hero, is reluctantly taking care of the dog and home of his great aunt who has fallen ill with pneumonia. Val is busy with his successful architecture firm and really doesn’t have time for the dog, the home or checking up on the caretaker who is living in his great aunt’s home. Sierra Johnson is the caretaker and working as a baker at a catering company while trying to get her life back in order. Sierra had great plans to open her own catering business, but now that seems to be a long way off. These two both have past histories that will get in the way of romance – will they work things out? Great characters and witty dialog make this a fun and lovely read. I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to give an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Valentine-Hearts-Romance-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B078QFJH4H

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Valentine-Hearts-Romance-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B078QFJH4H

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

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

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

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

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

The next poet with a recent review is  Natalie Ducey for her latest collection of poetry The Heart’s Lullaby

About The Heart’s Lullaby

The Heart’s Lullaby is a candid portrayal of love in all its splendor and pain. Love, in its purest form, is tranquil and soothes the soul. But love, as is life, can sometimes be cruel and unjust with its paths of uncertainty and forced goodbyes. In essence, it is a journey of self-discovery. A continuous journey of becoming. Often, it becomes a delicate dance of holding on and letting go.

We linger in memories of ill-fated love; our minds can easily soil them, and our hearts can effortlessly polish them to perfection, altering their resemblance entirely. We can anchor ourselves to yesterday by zealous choice or solemn grief. So easily, we can become obsessed with what “might have been” and miss the beauty that lies before us. Our minds craft spectacular moments that will never be realized. Why? Is it self-indulgence, or are they necessary companions for our soul’s survival?

Love, its force so formidable, transcends time, distance, and even death. Eternal love is the epitome of its grandeur.

To feel the exquisite, majestic splendor of love is the greatest gift we can give or receive. To have another see the unique beauty in our imperfections, that will protect us and elevate us without greed or envy, a soul willing and proud to walk this journey of life with us and share in its joys and sorrows … this is love, a gift unmeasurable and unmatched by earthly possessions.

But two souls must be willing. Therein lies the intricate complexities of the heart. And in the end, we must never forget … love, as is life, is a continuous journey of becoming.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Reviewed by Robin Goodfellow for Readers’ Favorite The Heart’s Lu …
14 days ago –

The Heart’s Lullaby by Natalie Ducey is a beautiful book of poetry that describes the fragility as well as the strength of the human heart. The book is separated into four parts. Embers of Love focuses on the bittersweet aspect of heartbreak, the pain of saying goodbye to someone you care about. Eternal Love illustrates the beauty of love lasting forever, even after death. The Agony of Holding On & The Angst of Letting Go is about falling out of love, and that despite everything you do to hold onto that person, sometimes it’s better to let go. Finally, The Journey of Becoming is about being comfortable with yourself, and knowing that both the heart and the mind need to work together to bring peace and comfort. Whether it be through pain, loss, or peace, Ducey shows us that love can comfort us in our time of need, and show us how human we really are.

The world is a funny place. Sometimes, we do so much to protect ourselves to the point where we simply forget what it means to laugh or cry, or to even love our own selves again. This collection does, in fact, remind me of a lullaby you would sing to a small child at night, or even to a grown-up in need for comforting. For example, one of my most favorite poems in this collection comes from Eternal Love, where the narrator promises to love their beloved for all time in the memories of their past, even if they’re gone. It’s wonderful, because oftentimes we worry about if we’re missed, if we’re better off gone. It’s a question that’s haunted many people, but this poem answers it easily. In my mind, it shouldn’t be an easy question, but nevertheless, I’m shocked at how easy it is. It’s nostalgically iridescent, to say the least.

Ducey provides a soothing, comforting atmosphere interlaced within her poetry. From the pain of losing a loved one, to the relief of finally finding yourself in the end, this book encourages those suffering from heartbreak, and mesmerizes others just by its messages of hope alone. As such, I would recommend it to fans of Feathers, Shades, Shadows and a Few Raindrops by Mandar Naik, and Catching a Dream by J.R. McRae.

Read the other reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Lullaby-candid-portrayal-splendor-ebook/dp/B072TMDGRB

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hearts-Lullaby-candid-portrayal-splendor-ebook/dp/B072TMDGRB

Also by Natalie Ducey

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Natalie-Ducey/e/B014XNEG8G

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natalie-Ducey/e/B014XNEG8

Read all the reviews and follow Natalie on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13534715.Natalie_Ducey

Connect to Natalie via her blog: https://natalieducey.com/

The next author is International best selling author Dan Alatorre and An Angel on her Shoulder.

About An Angel on her Shoulder

A series of unexplainable tragedies surround a family and their young daughter as they seek to determine whether they are possessed, paranoid or collectively going insane. Meanwhile, forgotten clues from the father’s past may indicate forces are at work in ways more ominous than any of them could have imagined.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I really enjoyed the audio book version of this story and thought the narrator had a very good voice and reading style.

The style of this book reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s book It where he goes back in time to the children’s childhoods for pieces of the story which help to explain how the events in the book all fit together in the end.

Alatorre’s main character, Doug, is an ordinary man with a good job and a lovely family. He adores his wife and small daughter and enjoys spending time with them and going on family holidays.

The story starts with an unexpected and nearly tragic incident in the parking lot at a wine farm which appears initially to be frightening, but not completely out of the ordinary; accidents and tragedies do happen in life. When Doug starts to realise that this latest incident is another in a seeming series of similar events, he starts to wonder what is happening to his family. Is this normal or is there more to these near tragedies than meets the eye?

Doug sets out to investigate the matter and learn more about why these incidents are occurring. His investigation leads him to a priest at his local Catholic Church and other interesting characters who delve into the world of spirituality and the occult. Something out there doesn’t like his attempted intervention though and is determined to step up its efforts to achieve its goals.

Very creepy and yet written with a sense of possibility that makes it all the more eerie, Dan Alatorre conveys his story in a way that really plays on the readers emotions and imagination. I rated this book five out of five stars.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Her-Shoulder-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B073GLVT71

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Her-Shoulder-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B073GLVT71

A small selection of other books by Dan Alatorre

Discover all of Dan’s books, read the reviews and buy: http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU

Read more reviews and follow Dan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7847408.Dan_Alatorre

Connect to Dan via his website: www.DanAlatorre.com

The next author is Carol Balawyder and a recent review for The Longest Nine Months published in October 2017.

About The Longest Nine Months.

In Getting to Mr. Right, Campbell debunked the Prince Charming myth, only to meet a special man who turned all her assumptions upside down.

Now she’s married to Chand..

But Happily-Ever-After turns out to be another illusion.

Campbell deals with job burnout and struggles to find her place in the world. An unexpected pregnancy and its complications undermine her relationship with Chand and take her to a difficult crossroad. No matter which way she decides to go, nothing will ever be the same!

One of the recent reviews for the book

on March 7, 2018

Pregnancy can seem interminable for many woman. In this instance, there’s an added reason that Campbell’s pregnancy seems long, convoluted, and stressful. Author Balawyder uses excellent description and dialogue to allow her readers to feel great empathy and fear and joy along with Campbell. The themes of love, marriage, getting through a relationship through good and bad, abortion, and disabilities intertwine throughout this well-written contemporary women’s fiction. I wasn’t sure if the ending would be sad or happy, but I did know that whether the relationship grew or dissolved, the main character’s strength would shine through her challenges.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0765RYGLK

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Longest-Nine-Months-Getting-Right-ebook/dp/B0765RYGLK

Also by Carol Balawyder

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Carol-Balawyder/e/B00QYYX008

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-Balawyder/e/B00QYYX008

Read more reviews and follow Carol on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7704883.Carol_Balawyder

Connect to Carol via her website: http://www.carolbalawyder.com

The final update today if for A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow, which I can also personally recommend.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

As a big fan of the Howarth family series, I was delighted to read ‘A Hundred Tiny Threads’. It’s the fourth book and a prequel set the early 1900s. As always, Barrow paints a big picture and juxtaposes it with clever detail to create a work of intimacy. This book involves suffragettes, the 1919 influenza epidemic and the horror of WW1. Throughout though, the dark family secrets of the Howarth clan are liberally sprinkled and keep the page turning tempo to the max. This is no pretty sanitised version of the times. Expect violence and cruelty and a realistic depiction of the harshness of the era. But there’s love too, and unexpected kindness from the always engaging characters. A great and satisfying read.

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

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

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

Thank you very much for dropping by today and I hope you find the selection of books interesting. Thanks Sally

If you would like to know more about the Cafe and Bookstore and how you can enjoy FREE promotion throughout the year: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Judith Barrow, Bette A. Stevens, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Dan Alatorre and Eloise de Sousa


Welcome to the first of the updates this week for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. If you are a first time author then here is a post which shows you how you can get FREE promotion for your new book and join the other authors on the shelves of the bookstore.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/smorgasbord-free-book-promotions-first-time-authors/

The first author is Judith Barrow for a recent review for the first book in the Howarth family saga, Pattern of Shadows.

About the book

Mary is a nursing sister at a Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling; life at home a constant round of arguments—often prompted by her fly-by-night sister, Ellen, the apple of her short-tempered father’s eye. Then Frank turns up at the house one night—a guard at the camp, he’s been watching Mary for weeks—and won’t leave until she agrees to walk out with him.

Frank Shuttleworth is a difficult man to love and it’s not long before Mary gives him his marching orders. But Shuttleworth won’t take no for an answer and the gossips are eager for their next victim, and for the slightest hint of fraternization with the enemy. Suddently, not only Mary’s happiness but her very life is threatened by the most dangerous of wartime secrets.

One of the recent reviews

A brilliant book about the life of a young nurse struggling to cope during WW2. Mary is from a working class family and the details of her life are spot-on for the period without being laboured or sounding artificial. She is so well-drawn she quickly becomes a figure we understand and love despite her mistakes, and when she is faced with danger from those around her we want to protect her and keep her safe. She faces prejudices that we all still face today and we can understand her dilemmas.

The others in the book all have their own multi-layered personalities which means we can sympathise, for instance, with Mary over her selfish, flighty sister, yet still feel for Ellen when things go badly for her.
This is a love story and a story of hatred and prejudice. The tension builds inexorably to its conclusion and I read on apprehensively but unable to put the book down, genuinely afraid for several of the characters. That is the mark of a good book.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pattern-Shadows-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B00940YWKQ

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Shadows-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B00940YWKQ

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

The next author is popular children’s writer Bette A. Stevens.. and instead of one of her stories, here is her puzzle book, Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, which has received a recent review.

About the book

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! is a resource for multi-cultural and interdisciplinary studies in the classroom or at home. Integrates Math (measurement and geometry) and Language Arts (research and writing) for elementary and middle school students, while presenting a few historical facts about tangrams.

Tangrams and word puzzles (rhyming riddles/poetry) encourage students to have fun while they’re learning, and then to demonstrate what they’ve learned. Includes ideas for home/school projects. Tangram outlines, with rhyming riddles as clues, are even labeled for coloring for preschoolers. Hands-on fun for the whole classroom/family!

A recent review for the book

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars Very Clever! January 2, 2018

I bought this book to give as a gift to my grandchildren. Reading through the book before giving it to them, I found it taught me a few things, too. First, I had no idea a tangram is a seven-piece puzzle with specific shapes. A pattern is provided to cut out and get started along with the history of it. There are many ways to put the pieces together, but the book supplies shapes to make– with clues or riddles as to what they are. Although, this is a very clever and educational book for children, I appreciated the added bonus that an adult can sit down and enjoy it with the kids!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Tangram-Zoo-Word-Puzzles-Too/dp/1470124777

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tangram-Zoo-Word-Puzzles-Too/dp/1470124777

Also by Bette A. Stevens

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

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

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

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

The next author who has received a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for The Fall of Lillith.

About The Fall of Lilith:

So says Lilith, the most exquisite of the angels. The two most important pledges an angel makes to God are those of obedience and celibacy, and dire consequences await any who break their oaths.

At first, the angels are happy in their celestial home, learning and exploring together. As they grow older, though, Lilith begins to question these pledges, which now seem arbitrary and stifling. Her challenge of the status quo leads to disagreement, jealousy, and strife among her peers. As the arguing and acrimony grow, lines are drawn and sides are chosen. Is war inevitable?

Filled with robust characters, incredible landscapes, and exciting action, The Fall of Lilith is an epic tale of seduction, betrayal, and revenge.

Free Will involves asking difficult questions and making hard choices, choices that require strength and sacrifice. These decisions can tear apart friendships and cause rifts between allies.

They can even threaten the foundations of Heaven.

The most recent review

I enjoyed reading about the various characters of this book, They are angels with wings to fly, one of them has additional abilities to change into different shapes. other one can breath fire, third one can sense the presence of others at any distance from him. There are others too with special abilities including Lilith, who can influence anyone by her words and can see future. All of them are created by God Himself to live in Floraison, with strict rules.

Most of them followed the rules, but Lilith despised following those rules because she had visions about the freedom to be bestowed upon yet to be created mankind of Earth. She revolted against God for not allowing the angels of Floraison the same freedom.
The revolt led to a bloody war between angels who followed rules and the others who were influenced by the designs of Lilith. Lilith and her supporters lost badly in the revolt and God condemned them to fall on Earth and bear punishment of hard living on earth.

They had to endure the punishment given by God in various forms. Fighting with various animals of earth, escaping from natural disasters such as volcanoes, earthquakes, dust storms in deserts etc. and finding food for survival were only some of the problems they had to tackle. This story of the survival of fallen angels on earth is very interesting till the last page.

Besides the story, I liked the use of vocabulary in this book to express the various actions and thoughts. Honestly, I learnt the use of many new words from this book. Most interesting part of this book for me was the narration of a story by Lilith. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Lilith-Fantasy-Angels-ebook/dp/B074CPKLHH/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fall-Lilith-Fantasy-Angels/dp/1947475002

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Connect to Vashti via her website: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

The next author is International best selling author Dan Alatorre and An Angel on her Shoulder.

About An Angel on her Shoulder

A series of unexplainable tragedies surround a family and their young daughter as they seek to determine whether they are possessed, paranoid or collectively going insane. Meanwhile, forgotten clues from the father’s past may indicate forces are at work in ways more ominous than any of them could have imagined.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Audio version. This was wonderful. It starts with a horrible accident. But the next thing you know it goes to something else that has you thinking, what the heck did they mess up the story it’s totally different now. It took me a little while to realize that the story was now in the past. It goes back and forth like that several times, so it eventually started to make sense. I hate spoilers so I’ll leave it there.

The narration is superb he really brings the story to life.

This Audiobook was given to me for free at my request from the publisher, author or narrator and I provided this unbiased voluntary review.

Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Action-packed, Unpredictable, Great world building, Original, Page-turner, Entertaining, Happily Ever After, Inspirational, Whimsical, Scary, Haunting, Easy-to-read, Wonderful characters, Twisted.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Her-Shoulder-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B073GLVT71

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Her-Shoulder-Dan-Alatorre-ebook/dp/B073GLVT71

A small selection of other books by Dan Alatorre

Discover all of Dan’s books, read the reviews and buy: http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU

Read more reviews and follow Dan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7847408.Dan_Alatorre

Connect to Dan via his website: www.DanAlatorre.com

The final author today with a recent review is Eloise de Sousa for her book The Iron Pendulum.

About the book

Julia Webster and Hugo del Fuego are missing from their third floor apartment in Bagley. The grisly display discovered in their home leaves Detectives Perkins and Jones with little evidence to follow and, as more remains turn up, the pressure mounts to find the killer. Time is the key element in solving a case riddled with dead ends and a strange family hiding its true evil behind the façade of money and power.

Can they unravel the secrets hidden behind the closed doors and will it be enough to solve the case and rescue the couple in time?

A recent review for the book

Stella F 5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling Read December 17, 2017

High paced crime thriller? or rather slow and going nowhere in the case of detectives Perkins and Jones. But what makes their job so addictive? There are plenty of descriptive elements in here; a mix of first person, Julia Webster, and third person, narrative. Whilst the majority of us would consider ourselves normal, we continue to read what unveils to be far from the ordinary. This is a thriller that shines its light into the dark recess of a mental institution. Eloise rations the laughs, but there are still one liners beautifully woven between the suspense, intrigue and horror. Skilful plotting and insidious build-up of tension, makes for an unexpected outcome.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Pendulum-Eloise-Sousa-ebook/dp/B01HYFLBII

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Iron-Pendulum-Eloise-Sousa-ebook/dp/B01HYFLBII

A selection of books by Eloise de Sousa

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Eloise-De-Sousa/e/B00JKTFVXI

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eloise-De-Sousa/e/B01N9PWJ5Y

Read more reviews and follow Eloise on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7781215.Eloise_De_Sousa

Connect to Eloise via her blog: https://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found an addition or two to your groaning TBRs…… thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Or … Tales of the Unexpected by Judith Barrow


Delighted to welcome Judith Barrow to the Archive Series and she is going to share some of her more hilarious and unexpected moments hosting guests in her holiday let.

Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Or … Tales of the Unexpected by Judith Barrow

Well, yes.looking back down the years and now we no longer let the holiday apartment attached to our house, I know it was worth it. We loved letting, despite the unexpected. It brought us many friends; visitors who returned year after year in the summer to enjoy the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline and all the other attractions this part of West Wales offers. We loved seeing them again. And we were fortunate to meet many new people as well. But there were downsides. Or should I say, occasions that made us think again about sharing our home.

Such as the Sports Fanatic.

Before I go any further I think I should mention that although we live along a quiet lane we are only a five minute walk to the village. In the centre is the local Co-op. The frontage is very old fashioned; it’s an old building. For years there’s has been talk of building a new store on the outskirts (actually about five hundred metres behind the existing one, on the edge of common land) but nothing has come of it. In winter the place trundles sleepily along; goods not available because of snow somewhere up country. the odd garbled message over the tannoy that everyone ignores, staff huddled in corners exchanging local gossip, wandering around, trying not to make eye contact in case you want to ask them something. It’s a place to meet up with local people who haven’t been visible all summer due to being too busy keeping holiday visitors entertained.

Which, as an aside, reminds me of a time I asked Husband to go and buy a red cabbage from the Co-op.

After half an hour he returns, empty handed and looking stunned.

‘No red cabbage?’ I enquire.

‘No, couldn’t find one. Asked an assistant. She said cabbages were on the veg stall and there was red food colouring in the baking section.’ He shook his head. ‘You couldn’t make it up!’

In summer the place comes alive: more than one assistant on the tills, lots of bustle, filling up shelves,assistants eager to help. Lots of happy visitors always glad for a natter, which inevitable ends with the comment,”you are so lucky to live here.’

I don’t argue… we are.

The visitors! (Should add here there is a sign asking customers not to shop in their nightwear) Apparently beach wear is acceptable. Nowhere else have I seen people shop half undressed: men in shorts (even Speedos … don’t think too long on that image; not nice mostly), bare chests and nothing on their feet, accompanied by shoals of similarly dressed and bare-footed children. All very jolly… until someone runs over toes with a trolley. Or they step in something.

None of this, by the way, has anything at all to do with the Sports Fanatic.

The couple arrived late one Saturday evening. The man struggled out of the car and walked, wincing, slowly along the drive, using two sticks, irritated-looking wife marching in front of him.

‘He’s sprained his ankle,’ she said, tilting her head towards him and without introducing herself. ‘happened yesterday. I came home from work and there he was, lying on the settee, bandaged up. Apparently,’ she stressed the word, ‘apparently our neighbour took him to hospital.’

‘Good of him,’ her husband said. ‘Nice chap.’

Wife snorted. ‘Fine start to our week,’ she said.

‘Mrs Morris?’ I asked. I knew they were down for a family reunion. Her family reunion.

She ignored me. ‘This way, is it?’ Pointing towards the apartment door and stomping off.

‘She’s a bit cross,’ her husband offered. Struggling with sticks he held his hand out to Husband and shook it. ‘I’m Simon,’he said, ‘you got Sky Sports in there?’

The following day it was the the reunion. The husband apparently had hardly moved from the settee in the living room of the apartment.

Mrs Morris was no less cross than before. ‘He’ll have to stay here,’ she said. ‘he says he’s in a lot of pain and can hardly stand.’ She stared at Husband. ‘I’ll be out all day. Would you go in and see if he’s okay every now and then, perhaps give him a cup of tea. I’ve left sandwiches on the coffee table for his lunch. It really is a nuisance.’

Husband was clenching jaw, the ears were giving off warning signs..

‘It’s fine,’I said, hurriedly. ‘Don’t worry.’

Half an hour after she’d driven off Husband went in to the apartment ‘ I can’t find him, he said.

‘In the loo?’I offered.

‘No! Anyhow, he’s not supposed to be able to move around at all.’

The implications of that suddenly struck us.

‘I’m not bloody clearing up after him if anything happens,’ Husband says.

I don’t answer but I knew it wouldn’t be me, either.

We searched around the apartment, then the garden.

‘He won’t be out here,’I said. ‘He can’t walk.

Just then Mr Morris came running around the corner of the house, a pack of six cans of pale ale in his arms.

We stood and looked at one another

Then, without an ounce of shame, he said, ‘can’t stand her family. Anyway, there’s loads of sport on the telly I don’t want to miss.’

And with that he grinned, walked past us and into the apartment.

Not quite sure what happened the rest of the week but Mrs Morris left on the Friday and the last we saw of Mr Morris was him trudging off the drive, carrying his suitcase, to make his way to the railway station on the Saturday morning

©Judith Barrow January 2017

My thanks to Judith for sharing this very entertaining experience and I have a feeling that husband was going to home to hot tongue and cold shoulder. Join us next week for another of Judith’s adventures.

About Judith Barrow

Although I was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire, for the last forty years I’ve lived with my husband and family near the coast in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK, a gloriously beautiful place.

I’ve written all my life and have had short stories, poems, plays, reviews and articles published throughout the British Isles. But only started to seriously write novels after I’d had breast cancer twenty years ago. Four novels safely stashed away, never to see the light of day again, I had the first of my trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010, the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. The prequel, A Hundred Tiny Threads will be published in August 2017. Hopefully then the family in this series will leave me alone to explore something else!

I have an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing. I am also a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Programme and give talks and run workshops on all genres.

Along with friend and fellow author, Thorne Moore, I also organise a book fair in September. This year we’ve changed venues. Here’s the link that tells all!! Narberth Book Fair. When I’m not writing or teaching, I’m doing research for my writing, walking the Pembrokeshire coastline or reading and reviewing books for Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT, along with some other brilliant authors and bloggers.

Books by Judith Barrow

A Hundred Tiny Threads  is a prequel to the three books featuring the Howarth family.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

Judith Barrow’s extremely well crafted, gritty, no-nonsense characters- a trademark in all of her novels – simply grab hold of the insides of your gut. In her stories so far, there always seems to be a strong, compelling well-written female protagonist and a strong, compelling yet deeply despicable man. Her characters stifle cries of outrage within the reader and in this particular book- which is the prequel to her family saga trilogy- she demands that you study the tiny threads, the origins that create the Duffy/Howarth family’s tapestry. Also, the tiny threads creating the flipside family rope that so often strangles hope – the hope of them ever breaking out of unhealthy family patterns, passed down through the generations, seen in the trilogy.

We observe the bravery of the Suffragette movement and the gear change in women’s thinking, bringing challenges on the domestic front through the eyes of Winifred and absorb the compelling backdrop of the dire First World War and the unforgiving callous behaviour of the Black and Tans. Judith pushes the reader into these frontlines and into these volatile worlds where we can, I think, surely comprehend- though with unease – that even the most undesirable character can be called nasty and a victim at the same time, and in the same breath.

The prequel and the trilogy make for a gripping read.

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

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

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith Barrow

Blog: judithbarrowblog.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/judithabarrow
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