Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Frank Prem, C. S. Boyack, Stevie Turner and Judith Barrow.


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore Updates this week with more reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Frank Prem whose latest collection Devil in the Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires is receiving wonderful reviews.

About Devil in the Wind

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’m not a poetry person, at least not normally, but I cried when I read ‘Devil in the Wind’ by Frank Prem. It’s about the Black Saturday fires that claimed 173 lives here in Victoria.
I was at home in Warrandyte that day. I’d sent the Offspring away, but I was at home with Dad and the animals because Dad had mild dementia and…I don’t think any of us really believed. I listened to 774 radio all day and some horrific reports were being phoned in, but we had the best roof sprinklers money could buy, and fire-resistant shutters. I was sure we’d be fine. And we didn’t really believe.

The next day, the reports started coming in and finally, we believed.

It was ‘all in together’ for a while after Black Saturday. We grieved, and donated food, and money, and hay because the animals were starving, and because we were alive and so many were not.

The togetherness has disappeared now, but we had it for a while, and I thank Frank Prem for helping me remember.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wind-anthology-Saturday-bushfires-ebook/dp/B07Q9YLD8V

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-Wind-anthology-Saturday-bushfires-ebook/dp/B07Q9YLD8V

Also by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank via his blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/

And the next author with a recent review is C.S. Boyack for his Sci-fi/Fantasy the novella The Hat

About The Hat

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

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book 

This book is not in my usual reading genre, but nonetheless, a delight to read. The Hat is a whimsical tale of a dynamic team – Lizzie, a 21 year old girl with troubles it seems at every corner, who manages to team up with the talking hat.

Lizzie manages to scoop a box off the moving truck taking away what’s left of her recently passed grandmother’s estate. Completely unaware what’s in the box, Lizzie strikes a real gem when she discovers in that box is a hat, but not just any hat.

As Lizzie and the talking hat get acquainted, finally becoming friends, the hat teaches her more about her family background, and ultimately becomes her cohort in her quest to save the kidnapped babies she learns about after her friend’s baby is kidnapped.

The story progresses through the quest to solve the crime, all the while experiencing magical situations and escapes when she puts on the hat and it empowers her with its magical properties, even being able to transport her to safety when the goings get rough.
A fun escape with lots of laughs and a perfect short read and entertaining read for a rainy afternoon.

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

Now for a recent review for Stevie Turner and The Daughter-in-law Syndrome

About The Daughter-in-Law Syndrome.

The Daughter-in-law Syndrome delves into the complicated relationship that is causing much friction between Grandmother Edna Deane and her daughter-in-law Arla. In addition it focuses on the sometimes tumultuous partnership between Arla and her husband Ric. Arla Deane sometimes likens her marriage to undergoing daily psychological warfare. Husband Ric will never voice an opinion, and puts his mother Edna up high on a pedestal. Arla is sick of always feeling that she comes in at only second best to her mother-in-law, who much to Arla’s fury is never told anything by Ric or his sisters that she would not want to hear.

This novel explores the husband/wife, mother/son, and mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships. After twenty eight years of marriage, Arla, the daughter-in-law, is at the end of her tether and persuades a reluctant Ric to accompany her for marriage guidance. As they look back over their lives with Counsellor Toni Beecher, Arla slowly comes to realise her own failings, and eventually discovers the long-hidden reason why Ric will never utter a cross word to his mother. Also, adding to Arla’s stress is the fact that her son Stuart will soon be marrying Ria, a girl whom Arla feels is just looking for a free ride. Arla is convinced that Ria will be no asset to Stuart at all; her new daughter-in-law just wants to be a mother and has no intention of ever working again once the babies start to arrive. After visiting Stuart and Ria for Sunday lunch, Arla is convinced that her son is making the biggest mistake of his life…

A recent review for the book

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Hugh W. Roberts, Judith Barrow and Linda G. Hill


Welcome to the second of the author updates for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore where i share recent reviews.

If you are not already in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to enjoy free book promotions and update for your own work… take a look at this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

The first author enjoying a recent review is Hugh W. Roberts for his second collection of short stories, More Glimpses.

About More Glimpses

Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden? Or know the real truth about what lurks inside every mobile phone? Would you steal items from a blind person, or send your neighbours on a time travelling adventure fraught with danger and menace to save the human race from a bug? How about staying in a sleepy village where many murders have taken place or coming to the aid of royalty while out shopping?

‘More Glimpses’ gives the reader an opportunity to take a peek into the lives of normal, everyday people whose lives are all on a path full of twists, turns and unexpected endings. However, it’s not only about the humans; nothing escapes the extraordinary journeys Hugh has planned for you. If you are a lover of shows such as ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ then you’re in for another exciting trip in this second collection from Hugh. Come and meet the characters who had no idea their lives were about to be turned upside-down. Enjoy the ride!

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Hugh Roberts never disappoints with his uncanny ability to take a simple life event and twist it into a life-altering situation, keeping us glued till the very end. It’s always a struggle to figure out where this author will lead us with his often dark trysts into another dimension. Like in true Roberts fashion, More Glimpses takes us into the lives of some interesting characters – many of whom don’t always have good intentions.

A few stories which stick in my mind: The Whistle – when love succumbs to war, what happens when time travelers’ plans get bungled up in The Bag Lady, Murder in Evershot brings us the life-like game of Clue mixed with a bit of Miss Marple and a good warning about letting strangers know where you live, you may never look at carrot cake the same way again after reading Easter Bunny Cake. And one of my favorites – The Jump – burning love at both ends of the candle can be a biatch and Karma comes in for just desserts.

This book of short stories offers a wide array of genres to entertain, sometimes frighten, and make you think. You may need to leave the lights on when reading!

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Glimpses-Hugh-W-Roberts-ebook/dp/B07PG4RH89

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/More-Glimpses-Hugh-W-Roberts-ebook/dp/B07PG4RH89

Also by Hugh W. Roberts

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP

Read more reviews and follow Hugh on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16123684.Hugh_W_Roberts

Hugh W. Roberts

Connect to Hugh via his blog: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

The next author with a recent review for the prequel to her successful Howarth Family Trilogy A Hundred Tiny Threads is Judith Barrow.

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

I must confess, I’m not generally a family saga reader but Judith Barrow’s work came very highly recommended so I thought I’d start with this prequel.

I’m so glad I did! Genre fiction is apt to be disparaged but, when it’s done well, it can hold its head up in any literary company and, if A Hundred Tiny Threads is anything to go by, Judith Barrow does family sagas extremely well. All the expected tropes are here: misaligned lovers, intergenerational conflict, troubled times, characters leaving in search of their fortune… but this is so much more than just a well-turned saga.

For a start, Judith Barrow writes flawless prose that’s perfectly tuned to her subject matter. I’m one of those picky readers who’s constantly tutting over the wrong word or a clumsy phrase but I didn’t tut once while I was reading A Hundred Tiny Threads.

For another thing, this isn’t just family saga, it’s history. The suffragette movement has always been a bit Pankhurst-heavy in my experience, too middle class, so seeing a working woman coming into the movement, and the way those from the upper classes welcome (and possibly use?) her was fascinating.

And then there’s the Irish question. As well as alluding to the atrocities committed – seemingly without let or hindrance – by the British occupying force in the shape of the Black and Tans (and I’m glad there wasn’t too much description of brutality – I’m apt to skip those pages and I wouldn’t want to have skipped any of this book) there’s the fleeing to Britain of young Irish people in search of a better life. I’d been aware that labourers came here but I had no concept that professionals also crossed the Irish sea to work. I suppose, in my ignorance, I’d always assume they went the extra mile and found themselves in America.

I found the historical background to A Hundred Tiny Threads really fascinating, all the more so as Judith Barrow manages not to become didactic or to beat you about the head with all the research she has undoubtedly done. No more details are given than those necessary to the storyline and I admire that. So, have I been converted to family sagas? Maybe I have…

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 recent review is for award- winning author Linda G. Hill, and her modern-day Gothic romance series, The Magician’s Blood: A Paranormal Romance- The Great Dagmaru Book Two.

About the Magician’s Blood

Herman Anderson is in love. Thrilled to travel across Canada with her boyfriend as his assistant onstage, she returns to her hometown—the first stop on the Great Dagmaru magic tour. Anticipating a reunion with her brother, instead she finds her family has moved without a trace.

Stephen Dagmar’s career as a stage magician is taking off. With Herman by his side, his only concern is her father’s dislike for him. But as Herman’s father makes a prediction and resolves to come between them, Stephen’s family curse returns to haunt him.

Darkness descends as the reality of the Dagmar’s incubus bloodline surfaces for the first time in over a generation. Can Herman and Stephen’s relationship survive this new trial? Will Herman survive at all?

A sinful tale of beauty and romance, love and determination, The Magician’s Blood will chill you and leave you breathless for more. *18+ Contains explicit scenes.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I have waited patiently to finally read this sequel to Linda Hill’s The Magician’s Curse and I was really not disappointed!

It took a couple of chapters to get back up to speed with the original story; the magic, the curse, Stephen and Herman’s love, Nina and her demented adoration for the ‘Master’ who impregnated her by compulsion rather than desire…

Then the magic of this sequel started with so many dark and twisted turns, as we were led deeper into the curse of the Dagmar family, and all connected.

I don’t want to give anything away, and to be honest, the way it ended, I don’t think I could because what a way to finish it!

Linda, we need another book, asap as I have to know what is going to happen next!!!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FKZMVLS/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magicians-Blood-Paranormal-Romance-Dagmaru-ebook/dp/B07FKZMVLS/

Also by Linda G. Hill

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-G.-Hill/e/B01K2LICL0/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-G.-Hill/e/B01K2LICL0/

Read more reviews and follow Linda on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15577348.Linda_G_Hill

Connect to Linda via her blog: https://lindaghill.com

Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you are leaving with some books…thanks Sally.

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Jacquie Biggar and Daniel Kemp


Welcome to the first Cafe and Bookstore Update for the week.

The first author with a recent review for the prequel to her successful Howarth Family Trilogy A Hundred Tiny Threads is Judith Barrow.

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

I expected this novel to be a typical historical romance but it was much more than that. It was gritty, it pulled no punches and this made the characterisation and events more real. The author enables you to connect with the story through knowledge of historical events and just the way life was…and still is in many ways. I also found it educational as it broadened my understanding of the suffragette movement and also the troubles in Ireland and the black and tans. Her description of place enables the reader to visualise the settings easily and the relationships between her characters are believable…no typical happy ending which I liked.

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/

Despite being passed the festive season, it is always a good time for romance. USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar provides that in her pre-Christmas release, Mistletoe Inn 

About Mistletoe Inn

Fall in love this holiday season!

A grieving man finds the greatest gift is love in this heartwarming holiday romance.

Molly McCarty is in need of a new beginning after a disastrous divorce. When the opportunity to invest in a bed and breakfast appears online in Christmas, Michigan she’s intrigued.
A snow storm derails her travels and leaves her at the mercy of a grim stranger- who turns out to be her new partner!
Noah Kincaid loses his parents in a tragic fire that leaves him scarred inside and out. He’s raised by a great-aunt and is devastated when cancer takes her life. But vowing never to care about anyone again is hampered by his troublesome new partner and her son.
Will a Christmas miracle bring three lonely hearts the gift of love?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Heartwarming love story! This the first time that I read a novella written by this new author Jacquie Biggar. She didn’t disappoint me with this short love story ‘Mistletoe Inn’. What a sweet story! It tells the sweet and romantic story of Molly, who needs a fresh new start after an awful divorce and Noah, a bruised man suffering of PTSD. During a snow storm, both their worlds collide with force and a build new friendship. Along with her son Leo, all three will embark on a Journey of hope, trust and romance.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HY69RPL

And Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mistletoe-Inn-Jacquie-Biggar-ebook/dp/B07HY69RPL

Universal link: http://books2read.com/MistletoeInn

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

And finally a recent review for Daniel Kemp and his thriller,The Widow’s Son released just before Christmas.

About The Widow’s Son

Three months before the invasion of Iraq, a member of a Masonic fraternity known as the Rosicrucians escapes from a British Intelligence holding station.

Orchestrated by the head of the Russian Federal Security Service, this event is somehow linked to a the highly classified CIA file only known as Gladio B. Tasked to destroy an unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, the chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee plans to bring the criminals to justice.

But he is running low on both time and allies, as mass annihilation threatens the whole planet. Who are the mysterious eight families that seem to be behind the mysterious events, and what do they have to do with the ancient 33rd degree level of understanding, only known by the mysterious Rosicrucian brotherhood?

One of the early reviews for the book

Brian Kitchen 5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing spy thriller 30 December 2018

I’ve always enjoyed a good spy thriller and over the years have enjoyed reading John le Carré, Len Deighton and Graham Greene. Most spy thrillers focus on the work done by the agent in the field and few are centred around those who supervise and direct those agents. Daniel Kemp’s protagonist, however, is the new chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee responsible for directing intelligence operations, which made for a fascinating read. Given a seeming impossible task and not knowing who he can trust, time is running out for the action is set in 2002 not long before the Second Gulf War. I won’t spoil the plot for readers, but I was engrossed by the story and really enjoyed it. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07LCQX4DY

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LCQX4DY

Also by Daniel Kemp

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daniel-Kemp/e/B075XRTBRP/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Kemp/e/B075XRTBRP/

Read more reviews and follow Daniel on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17257200.Daniel_Kemp

Connect to Daniel via his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/booksbydaniel/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you have found a book or two to add to your TBRs… thanks Sally.

 

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

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...

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
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/judith.barrow.3/about

Sally Cronin’s Book Reviews 2017 – My recommendations for Christmas Part One – Mary Smith, Judith Barrow, Cynthia Reyes, Kristina Stanley and Jack Eason


As part of promoting books for Christmas, I thought that I would share some my book reviews from 2017 that I featured on the blog. These are books that I can recommend personally and I hope that if you have not read the work of these authors you will head over and check them out.

I have not read nearly enough books this year and I still have some reviews to write that will appear after Christmas. My intention in 2018 is to maintain book and author promotions but also ring fence some time for my own writing and reading. I will be featuring one review a week which is my target of 52 books reviewed for next year.

Anyway I do hope you enjoy my personal selection over the next two days.

My reviews and recommendations for Christmas Part One.

No More Mulberries by Mary Smith was a treat as you will gather from my review and I am not alone in my opinion. There are an impressive number of excellent reviews for the book which continues to delight readers.

About the book

No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?

My Five Star review for No More Mulberries.

First let me say that this book should be made into a film as it has all the ingredients of a action packed love story.

It is visually stunning and I found myself completely involved in the people and locations such as the village of Sang-i- Sia that Mary Smith uses as the backdrop to the unfolding story. Combined with the increasing conflict between the various factions in the region it has an element of danger that brings even more tension to the central theme.

All the characters had wonderful depth and some of the minor personalities stood out for me as well. Including Ismail an old and trusted friend from her previous life in Zardgul and his gentle and wise wife Usma.

There is a love triangle between midwife Miriam, Iqbal her second husband and Jawad her charasmatic first husband who died tragically, and whose death she has not fully come to terms with. Through flashbacks, Mary Smith masterfully takes us through each of their lives, revealing the secrets and events that have brought them to a crisis point in Miriam and Iqbal’s marriage.

I came to admire Miriam who felt out of place in her native Scotland and embraced the cultural differences of living in a small Afghan village with enthusiasm and humour. She does everything she can to be accepted by learning the language and adopting the role of a traditional wife and mother.  Relationships can be daunting at the best of time, but add in the inability to communicate,no running water, basic cooking facilities and harsh extremes of weather in an isolated enviroment, and fortitude is required.

I did sympathise with Iqbal who clearly loves Miriam but finds it very difficult to deal with the ghosts of his past, and the ghost of Jawad who he feels is the third person in their marriage. He wants to be a good father to Farid who was just a toddler when his father died, but Miriam has also been trying to keep the memory of Jawad alive for her son, who is now confused. The light in their marriage however is provided by the delightful little girl, Ruckshana who is unaware of the tension and shines her love on all of them.

This is a complex relationship but the story is written in such a way that you come to understand and empathise with all the players in the drama. Mary Smith brings her extensive experience of living and working in Afghanistan and Pakistan into this story, creating a wonderful tapistry of life, love, danger and redemption.

I highly recommend you read the book.

Read more of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith/dp/1849234205

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith-ebook/dp/B005RRDZ12

I also read and reviewed Donkey Boy and Other Stories in October

My review for the collection which I gave  5 stars on October 2nd.

This is not a long read, but you should never judge a book by the number of pages, but in the quality of the writing. Each story is beautifully crafted and leaves the reader with questions. Not about the outcome of the story, but about how we might have behaved under similar circumstances. In the title story we meet a small boy who has to work for his father rather than go to school. His resentment is natural in a child, as his reasoning over a moral dilemma that becomes even more complicated than he anticipated.

For me there was a theme running through all the stories, of a sense of being trapped in situations and circumstances. These included childhood memories laced with bitterness, secrets that if revealed could endanger life, and visions that show the darker side of human nature. I read and enjoyed the novel No More Mulberries by Mary Smith, and highly recommend that you read this short story collection too.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075VC1XNX

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VC1XNX/

A selection of books by Mary Smith

NEWSFLASH: Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni is on offer until December 23rd at 99p..

Mark Williams 5.0 out of 5 stars A Finely Wrought and Fascinating Memoir 24 August 2017

This is an outstanding memoir, a record of the time that Mary Smith spent working in Afghanistan where she was establishing a project to train female volunteer health workers. This perspective makes for an account that is so much more vivid and intimate than a mere visitor to the country could have created. Mary Smith writes with humour and a delicate touch that faithfully records the daily life she experienced directly. She also evokes a lost time when the country enjoyed relative peace, pre-Taliban, and because of that there is an elegiac mood too as Taliban were later to gain ascendance. What shines forth, however, is the resilience and spirit of the Afghan people, especially the women, which Mary Smith captures in a lively, limpid style that ensures you will want to keep reading right to the end. It is easy to see why Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni has become a best seller.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith

Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

My next review is for A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow which is the fourth book of hers that I have read and enjoyed.

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.

My review for A Hundred Tiny Threads.

Highly recommended – A brilliant prequel to the Howarth family saga.  Five Stars.

I read and reviewed the three books in the Howarth Family Saga series and was delighted to discover that Judith Barrow was going to release a prequel to the series. We meet Winifred Duffy and Bill Howarth well into middle-age in the trilogy, and it is wonderful to find out how they began life, and the experiences that formed their characters.

Winifred Duffy finds it difficult to bond with her rigidly unloving mother despite the best efforts of her father. Their grocery shop is a focal point in the street and being under the watchful eye of the neighbours makes their strained relationship worse. It is a time when the Suffragette movement is gathering pace, and much against her mother’s wishes, Winifred becomes involved. Her new friends are vibrant and colourful. They are completely different to anyone that she has known before and they draw her into a dangerous liaison. Winifred has to develop the strength to overcome the consequences of these relationships if she is to continue to live within the narrow minded community around her.

Bill Howarth is a young man whose early life and time in the mines has marred him, leaving scars that make him unpredictable and angry. But Winifred catches his eye and ignites a love that is both powerful and destructive. Bill enlists to fight in the First World War and his experiences of the horror drives any compassion he might have had, deeper beneath his anger. This is reinforced with his service as part of the Black and Tans regiment in Ireland leaving him with few options if he is to find redemption.

Judith Barrow has created two very different characters that cross paths on a number of occasions, sometimes without being aware of each other’s existence. It is very difficult to like Bill Howarth, and it takes a skilled writer to instil some compassion and understanding for the young man he becomes. Winifred is much easier to admire, as she faces and overcomes some life-changing events, and comes to terms with secrets from the past.

The pace of the story is excellent, with several other wonderfully drawn characters such as Honara and her brother Conal, and the completely unlikeable Ethel Duffy. The history of the suffragette movement and the Irish conflict are very well portrayed, forming a compelling backdrop to the story of two young people being drawn into events, often beyond their control.

I recommend that if you have not already read the three books in the trilogy, that you begin with A Hundred Tiny Threads. This will offer you a wonderful introduction to the Howarth family that you will next meet during the Second World War. Also, having become familiar with the locations in this prequel, you will feel immediately at home when you encounter them in the first of the books, Pattern of Shadows.

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/

My next review is for the beautifully written and illustrated children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes and illustrated by Jo Robinson.

About Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.

My review for Myrtle the PurpleTurtle

Beautifully illustrated children’s book with a lesson for us all.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book, that gently encourages the young to accept that being different should be celebrated. Whether it is the colour of a person’s skin, accent, cultural background, religion or disability, they should never feel excluded and forced to change to fit in. Adapting is a different thing altogether and that comes when two people or groups respect each other’s differences, learn from them and adopt some elements in common. Cynthia Reyes expresses that effectively with the words in this book, complimented perfectly with wonderful illustrations of Myrtle and those she meets along the way by Jo Robinson. I also believe that parents or any adults reading this to a child, will also take on board how important it is for young children to grasp this concept as they enter this multi-cultural world we live in.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075ZGB235

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-Cynthia-Reyes/dp/0620773421

Also by Cynthia Reyes

book-photo-agh-cover2

Read the reviews for both books and BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

61etre3zbbl-_ux250_Connect to Cynthia Reyes via her blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

Illustrations by Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson currently resides in her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for many years. Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing. Her stories are mostly about people, and the sometimes dark twists that life takes. She also writes science fiction/fantasy, humour, and horror, not being one to restrict herself.

Connect to Jo via her website: https://africolonialstories.wordpress.com

The final review for today is for  Look the Other Way by Kristina Stanley which was released in August this year.

About Look the Other Way

Submerged beneath the depths is a sea of secrets

A year after her Uncle Bobby mysteriously disappears in the turquoise waters surrounding the Bahamas, Shannon Payne joins her grieving aunt to trace Bobby’s last voyage. Shannon hopes the serenity of the sea might help her recover from a devastating breakup with her fiancé.

Sailing the 38-foot catamaran, A Dog’s Cat, is Captain Jake Hunter, a disillusioned cop who has sworn off women. While Shannon tries to resist her growing attraction to the rugged captain, she uncovers dark truths about her uncle’s death that might send them all to the depths.

My review of Look the Other Way.

A romantic thriller with some great twists and turns.

I am not a sailor but have enjoyed time on the sea with a very capable captain at the helm. It was clear throughout the book that there was a very capable sailor writing the story who knew their way, not just around a boat and the Bahamas but also a romantic thriller.

The main characters were everything that a romance needs. Attractive, feisty and independent heroine, Shannon Payne who has some very good reasons for taking a break from her life, for some much needed time to think and consider her future. A good-looking and rugged hero, Jake Hunter who seems to be hiding a secret from his past, and who is desperately trying to keep his eyes of the bikini clad Shannon who might just put a dent in his resolve to remain single and celibate.

Shannon’s aunt Debi is on a mission to unravel the mystery about her husband Bobby’s last sailing trip. It seems that wherever the boat with its occupants anchors in the exotic Bahamas, the mystery deepens with dangerous manipulative female hitchhikers, and a much disliked yachtsman who likes to help himself to expensive keepsakes. Add in Debi’s excitable little dog and you have all the ingredients of a great adventure.

The locations from the Florida coast to the various yachting havens in the Caribbean are authentic and clearly well researched. Whilst the appeal of the nomadic life sailing these waters was apparent, so was some of the darker elements of this lifestyle.

One of the clever elements that the story of a troubled boy and teenager that is told in the background.. is it Jake or someone else? As Shannon’s brother joins the crew and seems at odds with everyone, it raises more questions about both their backgrounds.

Who are Shannon and her aunt to trust, and will they discover the truth behind the loss of Bobby? As the feelings heat up between Shannon and Jake she is knows that she must discover the truth if she is to find true happiness.. Oh and look out for the ex-fiancee who decides to confuse the issue even further by turning up uninvited.

I enjoyed the book very much. I escaped to the warm waters of the Bahamas with Kristina Stanley at the helm and found myself captivated to the end. Not my usual genre, but there was plenty of excitement, mystery and action to keep any reader happy. With the cold winter nights drawing in I recommend you curl up by a fire and escape to the islands.

You can read other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Look-Other-Way-Kristina-Stanley-ebook/dp/B073QHLZSB

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Look-Other-Way-Kristina-Stanley-ebook/dp/B073QHLZSB

Also by Kristina Stanley

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

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

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

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

Earlier in the year I read and reviewed the historical novella 1066 by Jack Eason

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley

My review for 1066 May 18th 2017.

Prepare yourself to stand in the shield wall.

This novella may be a short read, but it so packed with authentic detail and action, that you feel you are reading a much longer book.

Our heritage is founded on the backs of ordinary men such as Aldred and his nephew Cynric pressed into service as were thousands of farmers and craftsmen who were sworn to the feudal Anglo-Saxon lords. The story is factual but told through the eyes of these two fictional characters as warring armies battle to gain control of Britain.

One army is led by the barbaric King Harald of Norway or Hardradå as he is known by his men. He has formed an alliance with the Anglo-Saxon Tostig, claimant to the throne, now held by his brother King Harold, following the recent death of Edward the Confessor. This invasion force has the backing of Duke William of Normandy who has made promises to Tostig should there be victory.

With all the various factions identified, the story then takes us through the build up of forces led by the Norwegian king in southern Scotland, the defeat of the army entrenched in York and the significant and decisive victory by the forces of King Harold at Stamford Bridge.

This leads to the battle that was to change the life of every man, woman and child in Britain on October 14th 1066.

The main characters are portrayed vividly, and their backgrounds and involvement in this pivotal time in history, demonstrate how human traits such as greed, revenge and jealousy leads to the deaths of thousands who follow them.

The battle scenes and the acts of barbarism are very realistically portrayed both through the eyes of Aldred and Cynric, as well as those leading the various forces. The action maintains its pace throughout the story and Jack Eason has recreated the terrifying and brutal results of hand to hand combat and archery.

This was a dark time in our history and 1066 was a turning point for a Britain about to move into the Middle Ages, Jack Eason has captured this moment excellently.

If you enjoy a fast paced story and historical accuracy then I recommend you read 1066.

Buy the book – Amazon US –  https://www.amazon.com/Autumn-1066-Anglo-Saxon-dominance-ended/dp/1546685308

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1546685308

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY

Follow Jack and read other reviews on Goodread: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4026249.Jack_Eason

Connect to Jack via his website: https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/

I hope you have enjoyed today’s selection and there will be more of my reviews tomorrow. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Judith Barrow, Shehanne Moore, Judy Penz Sheluk and Marcia Meara.


Thank you for dropping in to the last Christmas Bookstore of the week. Another five authors with terrific books that would make wonderful gifts.

The first author is Judith Barrow with more reviews for her latest book A Hundred Tiny Threads, a book that I enjoyed and reviewed a few weeks ago. Definitely a gift for someone who loves family dramas.

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

This is the first book I have read by Judith Barrow and it certainly won’t be the last! A superbly written novel set in 1911 and during the First World War. Winifred Duffy is disillusioned with her mundane job and domineering mother and wants to become involved in the Suffrage Movement. She is persuaded by her Irish friend Honora to go to a meeting and is determined to play her part in trying to get women the vote. Winifred is introduced to Honora’s brother and falls in love for the first time in her life. Can it last?

Bill Howarth works in the mines and has a serious accident which leaves him out of work and disgruntled. He worships Winifred from afar and is determined to be with her. However, things take a turn for the worse and then Bill is drafted into the war. When he comes out, he is battled scarred and weary, but still his needs for Winifred are undiminished.

How will the story unfold? Will it end in tears or happiness for our three main characters?

An excellent read from start to finish, great narrative and Judith Barrow is an author to be commended.

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 a shelf full of books that would make any historical romance lover happy is Shehanne Moore. Here is Splendor ( London Jewel Thieves Book Two) which was published in May this year.

About Splendor

The only thing he hates more than losing at chess is marriage…

For Splendor, former servant to London’s premiere jewel thieves, pretending to be someone else is all in a day’s work. So when she learns of a chess tournament—a men’s chess tournament—with a ten thousand pound prize, pretending to be a man is the obvious move. The money will be enough to set her fiancé up in his own business so they can finally marry, and more importantly, it’ll pay off her bills and keep her out of debtor’s prison. But she doesn’t plan on her opponent, the rakish Kendall Winterborne, Earl Stillmore, being a sore loser—and a drunken one, at that. But before she can collect her prize, she finds herself facing the most merciless man in London across a pair of dueling pistols at dawn. Chess may be Splendor’s game, but she’s never fired a pistol before. And dressed as a man with ill-fitting shoes on the slippery grass and borrowed glasses that make it hard to see, she’s certain she’s finally tipped her own king.

Bitter divorcee Kendall Winterborne, Earl Stillmore, is the ton’s most ruthless heartbreaker. And he’s got three pet peeves: kitchen maids, marriage…and losing. So when he realizes the “man” opposite him has entered the chess tournament under false pretenses, he’s in the perfect position to extort the little chit. But that’s before the exasperating woman begins to slip beneath his skin, and soon all he can think about is slipping beneath her skirts. But the confounded woman is engaged to someone else, and worse—she’s nothing but a former kitchen maid, just like the one that lured his father into the marriage that ruined the family name. And his ex-wife taught him more than he cared to know about why marriage was the worst kind of checkmate of all…

One of the reviews for the book

I loved every delicious page of this book. The story of Splendor’s tempestuous rise from skivvy to become the wife of the gorgeously glowering Kendall Winterborne, third Earl of Stillmore, is an enthralling read. Exhilarating, witty and wicked, as well as wonderfully original. Ms Moore has a voice like no other and it is as irresistible as chocolate brownies. I gobbled it up. This is Georgian England, so of course there is a rollicking duel, class warfare and subjugation of women, but no one is going to get the better of the brilliantly ballsy Splendor, whether it’s at chess, at disguise or at love. Yet underneath all the abundant fun and crazy cross dressing there runs a powerful and serious comment on what women have had to face throughout history.

In Splendor Ms Moore has created a cracking champion for the female of the species, infinitely more deadly than the male. She comes out fists swinging, but the vulnerability that she is so determined to keep hidden from view is immensely touching. And the finale will capture your heart. Shehanne Moore can spin a tale that is a romance like no other. Savour it.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Splendor-London-Jewel-Thieves-Book-ebook/dp/B071S9W9W

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Splendor-London-Jewel-Thieves-Book-ebook/dp/B071S9W9WN

Also by Shehanne Moore

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Shehanne-Moore/e/B00CMBK7BW/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shehanne-Moore/e/B00CMBK7BW

Read more reviews and follow Shehanne on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7029905.Shehanne_Moore

Connect to Shehanne via her blog: https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/

The next author is Judy Penz Sheluk and her novel Skeletons in the Attic – A Marketville Mystery which is now available in audio for those who love to listen to their books as well as read them.

Judy has some FREE codes for the audio book as she would like obtain more reviews for the book. If you are interested please connect to Judy via her website listed below.

51wcykazzl-_uy250_About the book

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

One of the reviews for the book

The characters spring to life with their words and actions. Hints and clues are woven throughout the story and kept me guessing as the mystery unfolded. First of all the main character is named Calamity Barnstable and with a name like that you know it is going to be unique and interesting. Calamity goes by Callie Barnstable and inherits a house from her father that she never even knew existed. She is stunned when her father’s lawyer gives her the keys and a nice budget to work with as well as a thirty-year-old mystery to solve.

This story had so much going on that you could feel the frustration of this woman that had been tossed into a mystery that took place when she was six years old. A missing mother, a psychic, a nosy neighbor and other completely colorful cast of characters makes this book such an enjoyable read. Each chapter brought new suspects and helpful hints to light.

I almost gave it a 4.5 heart rating because of the hurried ending, but I enjoyed the book so much I stayed with the five.

Read the  reviews for the book and buy in print and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Skeletons-Attic-Marketville-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B01IQ0N3X6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skeletons-Attic-1-Marketville-Mystery/dp/1772232645

Also by Judy Penz Sheluk

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Read the reviews and buy all the books: http://www.amazon.com/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04/

Read more reviews and follow Judy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8602696.Judy_Penz_Sheluk

61kxh8dcqrl-_uy250_Connect to Judy via her Blog: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/

Our next author who has a series that would make fantasy readers very happy is Marcia Meara and here is her most recent release, The Emissary – A Riverbend Spinoff Novella which follows the story of a previous character in the series.

About The Emissary

Was Gabe Angelino, the mysterious truck driver in Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2, really an angel, as Willow Green believes? Or was he simply a good man, determined to help a stranger in need? Find out, as author Marcia Meara reveals the truth in the first Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary.

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.

One of the recent reviews for the book

As a spinoff, I wouldn’t recommend reading this before the Riverbend books, unless you don’t mind plot spoilers. If you read Finding Hunter, and wondered what was up with the mysterious Gabe Angelino, this book will answer all your questions.

This is a perfect read for this time of year–cozy, magical, and even set in winter. Jake Daughtry, AKA Gabe Angelino, died–and then the angel Azrael put him to work helping lost souls. There’s liable to be some issues along the way–angels aren’t the cuddliest of people, and Jake has a bit of a sense of humor–but there’s also going to be wonder, and hope, and examples of humanity’s best and worst.

At 105 pages, this story packs a lot into a short amount of time, making it a great read for a busy season, without the story being rushed. It wraps up satisfactorily at the end, but leaves more room for the next adventure. And in between–is a sweet story, full of faith without hitting too heavily on dogma, willing to have a little fun with the idea of angels, and the emissaries they might need to get their jobs done.

The relationships between the characters grow pretty quickly like any novella, but are engaging for all that. There’s not as much space for lovely descriptions of the landscape, but there are song titles and funny place settings at the chapter headings, such as “close to here but not far from there.” It’s a story of journeys, physical and spiritual, and always in motion. No matter the tragedies that form obstacles along the way, you know that there will be a happy ending coming, because this is that kind of book–the sort that wraps you like a warm blanket. A great read for fans of Marcia’s work, and fans of cozy mysteries with a bit of the supernatural.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Emissary-Riverbend-Spinoff-Novella-ebook/dp/B075Y2T3CL

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emissary-Riverbend-Spinoff-Novella-ebook/dp/B075Y2T3C

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

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

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

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

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

I am sure there will be a book or two that you might add to your TBR for your own reading pleasure or might buy as a gift for somebody else. Thanks Sally