Smorgasbord Christmas Blogger Weekly – December 21st 2022 – Jennie Fitzkee, Traci Kenworth, Cheryl Oreglia, Robbie Cheadle, Hugh Roberts, Richard Dee, Staci Troilo, Judith Barrow


There have been many wonderful posts this last couple of weeks by those in our writing community and I would like to share with you a very small selecton I have enjoyed.

Jennie Fitzkee shares the second part of her Teaching Lightbulb Moment and it is so inspiring to read about the teaching blocks that she created from art exhibitions to the circus..wonderful post

Head over to read this inspiring post: Jennie Fitzkee – My Light Bulb Moment part two

Traci Kenworth accompanies her blog posts with a selection of links to other posts from the writing community. Always a wonderful selection and here is just one of her pre-Christmas posts about eye lashes.

Head over to enjoy the post and follow the links to other blogger’s posts: Beauty it’s all in the lash

Cheryl Oreglia explores Advent and wonders how we should best use this time of year, from a spiritual perspective and as an opportunity to refine the type of person we are or choose to be.

Head over to read Cheryl’s thoughts on Advent and enjoy her take on life: What are we waiting for?

Robbie Cheadle writing on Writing to be Read with a moving tribute to author and poet Sue Vincent who sadly died in 2021. Still very much missed within the writing community.

Head over to enjoy Robbie’s moving post: Tribute to Sue Vincent author and poet.

Even if you are not taking a blogging break it is always a good idea to spend time on housekeeping your blog and archive files. As always Hugh Roberts offers some great tips on how to do this effectively.

Head over to make a note on the steps to take to tidy up your blog over the holidays: Help your blogging during December

A festive story from outer space from Richard Dockett a must read for Father Christmas sceptics…..

Head over to read this fantastic short story:Festive Flash Fiction – Maybe you were right.

Staci Troilo has a wonderful virtual cookie exchange with participants from around the world sharing their Christmas Cookie recipes… you can find links to these recipes in her post.. something to save for future holidays.

Head over to follow links to amazing cookie recipes whatever your dietary requirementsStaci’s Virtual Cookie Exchange

Judith Barrow has a new book out in January ‘Sisters’ that I am really looking forward to reading, and in this post Judith tells the story of two sisters who both in their way became famous in the 18th and 19th century writer  Ann Hatton and actress Sarah Siddon.

Head over to read this fascinating story: Ann Hatton ( Ann of Swansea) and Sarah Siddon #FamousSisters

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full. Have an amazing holidays.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! – Guest Round Up – Final Part – Richard Dee, John W. Howell, Staci Troilo, Annette Rochelle Aben, Hugh Roberts, M. J. Mallon, Judith Barrow


Over the last three months, I have been privileged to share the thoughts and wisdom of friends within the writing community in response to the prompt ‘I Wish I Knew Now What I Knew Then!’.  This is the last part of the catch up series and I hope you have caught up with any posts that you missed.

 

Author Richard Dee who shares his perspective on life’s experiences and would have liked to share the knowledge and good news that most things work out as they should, to his 16 years old younger self.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Richard Dee!

Author John W. Howell shares some early life lessons such as ‘talking back to your parents!’ but also some that apply to life in general and to writing.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by John W. Howell

Author Staci Troilo shares the lessons she took from striving to please family and those she worked with and how loss and surviving overwhelming grief can make you stronger.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now – Loss by Staci Troilo

Author and poet Annette Rochelle Aben shares her thoughts on life and the importance of forgiveness.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Life #Forgiveness by Annette Rochelle Aben

Author and Blogging advocate and mentor Hugh Roberts shares his experience growing up in the unforgiving school environment that did not support his dyslexia.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Dyslexia #Blogging Hugh Roberts

Author and poet M.J. Mallon (Marjorie) shares her thoughts on the prompt and how her father’s work abroad and visits to spend time with him in exotic locations and his stories ignited her own passion for writing.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Family #Travel #Writing by M.J. Mallon

Author Judith Barrow returns to her teenage years and the restrictions that at the time stifled her desire to write and to teach, both of which she now embraces wholeheartedly.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Family #Writing by Judith Barrow

 

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this series so honestly and inspirationally. It would seem that despite the rollercoaster randomness of life… the good times and the hardships, tragedy and loss, the human spirit strives to find its way and takes us to a place where we need to be.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – K.M. Allan, Judith Barrow, Ritu Bhathal, Sandra Cox and James J. Cudney


Welcome to the new  Cafe and Bookstore Weekly News – where I will share recent reviews for authors in the Cafe.

The first author is K.M. Allan with a review for the first book in the Blackbirch series – The Beginning.

About the book

Welcome to Blackbirch. It’s a place no one forgets. Except for Josh Taylor.

The fatal car crash took more than 17-year-old Josh’s parents. It stole his memories and returned him to his birthplace, Blackbirch, a tourist town steeped in a history of witchcraft.

Amongst friends he’s forgotten and a life he doesn’t want, Josh is haunted by nightmares so believable he swears the girl in his dreams is real. Kallie is so captivating he ignores her blood-stained hands, but he can’t overlook the blue glow summoned to her skin.

Kallie says it’s an ancient magic they share and a secret worth hiding, because as Josh discovers, they aren’t the only gifted ones.

To restore his memories and find the true cause of the car accident, he must learn what’s real. And what secrets Blackbirch has buried in its woods.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jan 26, 2021 Tomas Grizzly rated it Five Stars

This is slightly out of my usual genre preferences. And I’ve read it in 3 days. I admit I’m not even sure what genre it is. Paranormal/thriller with fantasy elements, maybe? So, take the 5-star rating with a grain of salt because it’s mostly based on how it dragged me inside but I can’t comment on genre specifics.

Either way, I was easily gripped by the story. The dream sequences were quite livid and nailed their purpose, and the ending raises just the right questions to make me interested in how it may play out next – to the point I’ll likely return to the story sooner or later.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow K.M. Allan: Goodreads – Instagram: K.M. Allan Writer – Facebook: K.M. Allan Writer – Twitter: @KMAllan_writer

The next author is Judith Barrow with a review for her latest novel set in World War I which I can also highly recommend. The Heart Stone.

About the Book

1914. Everything changes for Jessie on a day trip to Blackpool. She realises her feelings for Arthur are far more than friendship. And just as they are travelling home, war is declared.

Arthur lies about his age to join his Pals’ Regiment. Jessie’s widowed mother is so frightened, she agrees to marry Amos Morgan. Only Jessie can see how vicious he is. When he turns on her, Arthur’s mother is the only person to help her, the two women drawn together by Jessie’s deepest secret.

Facing a desperate choice between love and safety, will Jessie trust the right people? Can she learn to trust herself?

One of the recent reviews for the book

The Word Bird 5.0 out of 5 stars Consummate storytelling  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 March 2021

As with her previous books, what you get in this latest – The Heart Stone – from the pen of Judith Barrow, is consummate storytelling. Other reviewers have detailed the riveting story. I’m reviewing the writing, which in my view is exceptional.

Once again we are privy to the internal and external life of a brilliant central character. Jessie is as courageous as she is challenged. The rawness of her fears and struggles in the face of the horrors of war and its aftermath, are acutely observed. It is her resilience that shines, moving the story as well as Jessie herself, through the big-picture drama and the everyday, as the story unfolds. It’s perfectly paced, cleverly structured and an absolute joy.

What I particularly appreciate about Judith Barrow’s novels is her attention to detail. There is a breadth of history in this book. It’s almost panoramic in places; it’s also deeply personal: the horror of war encapsulated in the experience of one man. A man Jessie loves. But love, not least in a time of war, is never easy for women. And life on the home front during both world wars presented women with a myriad challenges, with choices which were sometimes no choice at all.

The Heart Stone is an unflinching, very real portrayal of people – families – at war. Above all it is a love story to the women who survived WW1. And those who didn’t. Highly recommended. Not enough stars.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

The next author is Ritu Bhathal for her lovely romance Marriage Unarranged.

About Marriage Unarranged

It all started ended with that box… Aashi’s life was all set. Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after. But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged. Old images erased, new beginnings to explore. And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

One of the recent reviews for the book

The Bee 5.0 out of 5 stars It made my heart sing in a difficult time  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 February 2021

I started reading ” Marriage Unarranged” at the beginning of my journey through cancer treatment and at first could not get into it. Ashi so got on my nerves in her breaking up and and going through the motions. It was so bad I had to stop reading it. I guess, her emotional state was too close to mine which I had probably totally ignored.

A couple of months later between chemotherapy and radiotherapy it crossed my path again and I gave it another go. This time, I simply could not put it down and spent a couple of nights reading it.

What I love about the book is it’s vibrant characters which are lovable with edges. They keep a brilliant balance of conflict and harmony. You can see that they were created with much love but in a realistic fashion. I also love that many difficult topics (not only for the Indian community) are touched with tenderness, clarity and a huge amount of kindness. Too often today this isn’t the case and taboos are rather judged and dismissed than looked upon from different angles and with an attitude of wanting to understand rather than judge. That really impressed me.

I believe, “Marriage Unarranged” gives you a deep insight into the life of today’s Indian Community and it left me wanting more.

Besides all that, it is simply a beautiful love story that you can let yourself immerse in and go travelling in your mind. I am so looking forward to more books from Ritu Bathal.

Thanks Ritu, for having given me a break in a very difficult time!  

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – andAmazon US- Blog: Ritu Bhathal WordPress Follow Ritu: Goodreads – Twitter: @RituBhathal

The next author is Sandra Cox with her latest release Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter.. another book that I can recommend.

About Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter

Bounty hunter Gwen Slade always gets her man. Until she meets charming outlaw Jordie Kidd.

After Jordie saves her family, she finds she can’t in good conscience turn him in, even if he is worth a thousand dollars dead or alive. Instead she sets her sights on the meanest, most-wanted gang in Kansas. Gwen always works alone until she goes after the gang then finds herself partnering with an unlikely source.

This time around, not only her life, but her heart is on the line.

A recent review for Gwen Slade

Joseph A Congel VINE VOICE  5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written and terrific on so many levels!  Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2021

Author, Sandra Cox knows her craft. I have read several of her novels and all of them have been well-written and edited, and because of her attention to detail, all have been extremely engaging reading experiences. She is a highly talented writer who is in top form in this, her newest offering, Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter.

Gwen Slade is smart. And she’s tough. She can fight, and she knows her way around the barrel of a shotgun. She also has the responsibility of taking care of her younger brother. So to put food on the table, and hopefully one day provide a better life for her family, she puts her skills to work as a bounty hunter. Not an easy task, to say the least, especially for a female living in the west in the late 1800’s. But her ability to take down the bad guy and collect the bounty has gained her the respect few have in her profession.

Gwen has always worked alone, and she prefers it that way. And then in walks Jordie Kidd. A charismatic outlaw with a twinkle in his eye who helps save her family from harm. And although his charms are not completely lost on Gwen, she has no time for that kind of thing. But she doesn’t turn him in, instead letting him go as a gesture for saving her family. And besides, she is gearing up to take down a ruthless gang with a huge bounty on their heads. A bounty large enough to let her and her family finally cash in on the life they’ve always dreamed of.

As Gwen sets out on what she hopes will be her final bounty hunt, she finds herself forced into a questionable partnership. A partnership that she doesn’t want to be in, but turns out to be one she can’t live without.

All I kept thinking throughout this story was what a great movie it would be. It’s a captivating storyline with richly developed characters whose interaction with one another helps draw you into their world. If you are a fan of Western-Romance stories that feature a strong female lead, then you are going to love this book. If you’ve never read a book in this genre, give this one a try. I guarantee you will be a fan by the time you get to the end. I really enjoyed this book. Truly a 5 STAR read.  

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon UK – And: Amazon US- follow Sandra Cox: Goodreads – Blog: Sandra Cox Blogspot – Twitter: @Sandra_Cox

The final author today is James J. Cudney with a recent review for the first book in his Braxton Campus mysteries – Academic Curveball.. this is an excellent introduction to the series that I much enjoyed.

About Academic Curveball

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents.

A recent review for the book

Feb 10, 2021 Teri rated it five stars

I have to be honest – I haven’t read many cozy mysteries, but a small town college setting, the adorable cover, and great reviews drew me to this book.

I immediately liked Kellan. He’s a fairly recent widower with an adorable young daughter who’s trying to do the single dad thing, while also keeping the peace with his in-laws. When he travels to his hometown for his father’s retirement party, it’s clear there’s also friction in his own family. The reader doesn’t have to wait long for the action to begin. A body is discovered at the party and what looks to be an accident is soon revealed to be a murder. In several mysteries I’ve read, it’s pretty obvious who the murderer is early in the story, but that’s not the case in this novel. Several characters have a motive (even some within Kellan’s family), and I was kept guessing until almost the end.

While investigating on his own (and finding himself in some interesting situations), Kellan reconnects with some old friends and a girlfriend. Learning his backstory gave me more insight to his character, and I liked him even more. He also ponders making some life changes in the best interests of his family. Speaking of his family, shout-out to Nana D, who gave me several laugh out loud moments. She’s a feisty, intelligent lady who speaks her mind – and also makes repeated attempts to fix up her grandson with questionable choices in women.

I’m so glad I picked up this cozy mystery – the author has a new fan of the series. I have to comment on that cliffhanger at the end – it was a doozy and completely out of left field. And I absolutely need to know what happens next!

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US andAmazon UK  – Website/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads:James J. Cudney – Twitter: @Jamescudney4

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 4th January 2020 – Carol Taylor, Jennie Fitzkee, Judith Barrow


Welcome to the first of the blogger daily posts this week with some links to articles I am sure you will enjoy..

The first post today is from food writer Carol Taylor with her packed Saturday Snippets, today with interesting events on this day in the past, bars of soap making a come back,music, dancing and some great warming soup recipes.. head over to enjoy…

Good morning and it is a cold one here…I have sox on for the first time in 8 years, leggings, a t/shirt and a sloppy jumper…My hands were cold but between typing and kneading the bread they have warmed up somewhat…

I am seeing beautiful images of newly laid snow and I know for many of you it is much colder but I am used to warmth and 11 degrees is cold for me…hence the sox…

Show business and the music industry is well known for being fickle…such is life you could say…it was back on the 1st January 1962 and the Fab Four aka The Beatles travelled all the way from Liverpool to the Decca Studios in London for a recording audition.

Being nervous, the audition didn’t go too well and a few weeks later their manager Brian Epstein was told ” they didn’t have a future in the show business”

As it is debatable who made that decision I am sure they lived to regret that error of judgement or maybe it spurred the band members to step it up a notch…The rest is history…

Subsequent signings, among others, included the Rolling Stones, the Animals, the Moody Blues, the Small Faces and Tom Jones all who all had/have long careers in the industry…

Did you know?  To find out about a person born on January 3rd and to enjoy the post: Carol Taylor’s Saturday Snippets 2nd January 2021

For most of us this year has been one of uncertainty and feeling of isolation, but as always Jennie Fitzkee raises our spirits with her lovely post about hope..

Light and Hope – Children and a New Year

Like everyone, I was hoping to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. I was disappointed when it was not visible, as it was a cloudy night. The next day a talented local photographer, Kevin Ting, captured it.

But of course, that is where this story begins.


The photo not only captures the sky and planets, it is centered on a town, my town. I keep looking at this photo. I am drawn in, because the lights of the town are as lovely as the lights of the planets.

Far and near, from the universe to a small town, they both come come together. The common denominator is light. And light gives us hope.

To read more about this lovely message of Light and Hope head over to read the post in full: Jennie Fitzkee Light and Hope Children and a New Year

And finally today a lovely interview courtesy of Judith Barrow who asks Silvia Broady about her romantic saga books.

A Few Moments with #RNA #FamilySaga writer Sylvia Broady

Sometimes you find a niche where you know you just fit. That’s how I felt when I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and then the RNA Saga Writers group on Facebook. I was made very welcome and, in fact, was interviewed:on the Write Minds Blog, run by two of the members:Francesca Capaldi Burgess and Elaine Roberts.

I wanted to discover how and why, like me, they wrote family sagas, with a little romance thrown in. So I asked if any of them would be interested in discussing that. I certainly received some fascinating answers.

This is the fifth of my interviews with a Romantic Saga Author, and today I’m delighted to be talking to Sylvia Broady.

Welcome, Sylvia, lovely to see you here today.

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Judith.

Let me start by asking, When you started writing your book, did you intend to write a family saga – or series of stories rather than one story?

Yes, I always did intend to write my sagas as stand-alone books, though reading your question, Judith, made me consider, what if?

DAUGHTER OF THE SEA, my latest book is set in the 1930s to 1940s, stems from a novella I wrote many years ago. That story was set in the 19th century, and the main male character, Christian Hansen, is the grandfather of the present day Christian Hansen. A wealth of historic and social information for the deep sea fishing community, most written about men, very little written about women. And I write about strong women.

Head over to find out more about Silvia Broady and her books and enjoy the post in full: Judith Barrow interviews family saga author Sylvia Broady

 

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Karen Demers Dowdall and Judith Barrow


Welcome to the second of the Cafe Updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for her short story – Memoir of a Mad Woman.

About the book

A novelette from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Reared by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds. She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree… But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this tragic but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 02, 2019 Dennis Cardiff rated it it was amazing with Five Stars

Memoir of a Mad Woman by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a horror story but entirely believable. Emma introduces herself in the first few pages. Her name, she states, “means ‘whole’– something I’ve longed to be my entire life.” As the story progresses we learn that her father left her at an early age and her mother was a shrieking, religious extremist who died in a house fire when Emma was eleven years old. Concerning the fire, Emma states, “I had nothing to do with it.” This clue caught my attention, especially when I later learned that her mother was doused in “some kind of an accelerant used to ignite the fire.”

Emma was placed in a hospital where doctors noted that she, “Lacks emotions in regard to the severity of the situation.” I have known many friends living on the streets who showed this same lack of emotion. Some were convicted of murder, others who had committed murder were not convicted. In conversation, they seemed ordinary, something that Emma aspired to be.

Memoir of a Mad Woman gave me some insight into the life of a person who had suffered neglect, mental illness, physical and especially sexual abuse. This story will probably give me nightmares but the artistry and mastery of the words, plot, dialog and storyline leave me filled with admiration for the skill of author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MLYP5XP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Memoir-Mad-Woman-Vashti-Quiroz-Vega-ebook/dp/B07MLYP5XP

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

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

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

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

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

The next author with a recent review for her latest book is Karen DeMers Dowdall for The Captain’s Witch.

About The Captain’s Witch

Lost in the Annals of Time: A Story of Love and War

The Captain’s Witch is a hauntingly beautiful story of love that transcends time. Sara Windsor Knightly, born into a family with generations of witches inherits Windsor Manor, a colonial era manor built in 1680. She had no idea that the Manor is haunted by Jacobite ghosts, and a ghost named Christian Windsor.

He is a gentleman farmer who is also a Captain in the British Brigade in the year 1690 in Colonial Connecticut during King William’s war with the French and the Abenaki Indians. To complicate matters, the White Oak Tree on the property of Windsor Manor, is haunted by the ghost of Alice Windsor Hall. The White Oak Tree was once a sapling on the grave of Alice Windsor Hall, one of Sara’s distant relatives who was falsely accused of witchcraft in 1690. Alice has haunted the White Oak for more than 300 years and she has plans of her own that sets everything in motion. Alice spins a spell that sends Sara and Christian to the year 1690 to save her little girl, Clara, from the hands of Reverend Baron Warwick, a Puritan Zealot who has diabolical plans for the child. Alice promises to return Sara and Christian back home as soon as Clara is safe from harm.

Alice’s promise sends Christian back to war and certain death. A brokenhearted Sara is sent back to the present day to Windsor Manor. Sara is, quite by accident, sent once more back in time to revisit a very different Christian, who has no memory of Sara, putting her in great danger of being accused of witchcraft.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This story reminded me quite a bit of the Outlander series with a fair amount of swashbuckling, romance, and brogue, as well as some time-travel to make things exciting and complicated. But there are plenty of differences too. The main character Sarah is a white (good) witch in modern Connecticut, and she’s untroubled by magic, fairies, and ghosts, several of the latter who reside in her historic home.

The captain, Christian, is one of the ghosts and the source of the story’s romance. There are some clever and humorous moments resulting from the 400 years of technological and cultural advancement separating the two protagonists. It’s clear that the author knows the geographic area and did her research into colonial Connecticut. The thick brogue seems realistic, and once I became accustomed to reading it, I had no problem.
The book seems to have two parts, the first half a time-travel rescue. The villain, a murderous preacher, is pretty dastardly, and yet he’s easily evaded and disappears from the book at the midpoint. The second half dives into the romantic push-pull between Sarah and Christian and provides a satisfying conclusion. The story does need some professional editing to compliment the engaging personalities and plot.

The pace moves along nicely. I liked the two main characters quite a bit. They were well-rounded, and it was especially refreshing to see Sarah so blasé about her supernatural home. Recommended for romance readers who enjoy a little magic

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Captains-Witch-Karen-DeMers-Dowdall-ebook/dp/B07X2BRVB9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Captains-Witch-Karen-DeMers-Dowdall-ebook/dp/B07X2BRVB9

Also by K.D Dowdall

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-DeMers-Dowdall/e/B00JO0Q4AM

And Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-DeMers-Dowdall/e/B00JO0Q4AM

Read more reviews and follow Karen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7394355.K_D_Dowdall

Connect to Karen Anna via her bloghttps://karendowdall.com

The final author with a recent review for the first book in her successful Howarth Family Trilogy: Pattern of Shadows  is Judith Barrow.  I can highly recommend all the books about the Howarth Family.

About Pattern of Shadows

Mary is a nursing sister at a Lancashire prison camp for the housing and treatment of German POWs. Life at work is difficult but fulfilling; life at home a constant round of arguments—often prompted by her fly-by-night sister, Ellen, the apple of her short-tempered father’s eye.

Then Frank turns up at the house one night—a guard at the camp, he’s been watching Mary for weeks—and won’t leave until she agrees to walk out with him. Frank Shuttleworth is a difficult man to love and it’s not long before Mary gives him his marching orders. But Shuttleworth won’t take no for an answer and the gossips are eager for their next victim, and for the slightest hint of fraternization with the enemy.

Suddenly, not only Mary’s happiness but her very life is threatened by the most dangerous of wartime secrets

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jul 14, 2019 Sandra Danby rated it Four Stars

The first instalment of Judith Barrow’s Mary Howarth series is ‘Pattern of Shadows’, a historical romance set in World War Two Lancashire that explores the challenges and new opportunities for women in wartime. Set against a male-dominated background where the aspirations of working class women have traditionally been put second, war brings change and some people adapt better than others.

Mary is a nursing sister in the hospital attached to a prisoner of war camp, nursing German soldiers captured and injured in action. Some people find that challenging but for Mary it is a satisfying and fulfilling job. Things get complicated when she attracts the attention of two men who could not be more different. One night Mary meets Frank Shuttleworth, a guard at the POW camp and, thanks to a combination of unforeseen circumstances, runs to a shelter with him during a bombing raid. This evening has far-reaching consequences for Mary and her flighty younger sister Ellen. There are tensions at home too with her argumentative irascible father and defeated mother, as Tom her older brother is in prison as a conscientious objector and her younger brother, injured fighting, must now work as a coal miner. Meanwhile a new German doctor arrives at the hospital. With two choices in front of her, Mary must decide whether to do what is expected or defy convention, to be loyal to her family who are not always loyal to her, or to be selfish and do something for herself.

A well-paced story combining stalking, prejudice, domestic violence, homophobia, poverty and family strife, Mary is the only unselfish, balanced person in her family. Will she finally put herself first? This is at times a grim story set at a difficult time and at first I worried this was misery fiction and longed for an occasional bright light. But the setting and time period are so well researched I soon relaxed into the story as the character of Mary and her predicament drew me in. I admire her stubbornness, her selflessness and loyalty, above all her bravery. Sometimes she is misguided, always well-intentioned, I look forward to reading more about Mary in ‘Changing Patterns’, the sequel.

Read the reviews and buy the bookhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1906784051

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1906784051

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

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

 

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