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

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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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sally’s Book Reviews – A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow


 

I have decided that now I have my new reading chair and I am spending time every day for an hour reading in it….. I would start doing my own reviews separate to the Cafe and Bookstore updates.

My first 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/

I hope that you will head over and explore Judith’s books .. thanks for dropping in .

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Judith Barrow and Lorinda J. Taylor


Welcome to the first author update of the week and some exciting news to kick this post off. A new release from the writing partnership of Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Lore Weavers: An Imperious Impulse: Coyote Tales released last week.

About the book

“Couldn’t you make me into a Bull?” asked Coyote.

In a time before Man walked the Earth, the Great Spirit breathed life into the land. Coyote was the First. Playful, subversive, curious and sometimes comical, he and his fellow creatures shaped the world for those who were to follow. Coyote is a Native American Trickster and hero of many adventures.

Tales of Coyote were passed down and shared with the young to illustrate the dangers of being human. Wilful, headstrong and always in trouble, Coyote journeyed through the spirit worlds, stealing fire and outwitting Death. When the Earth was loved as a living being, the rocks sang and the trees danced. Animals uttered Nature’s wisdom and the sun rose and set upon a wondrous world. The echoes of this magical landscape can still be found in the myths and legends of many cultures. They represent the weaving of the human spirit and the silent lore of creation.

‘Be careful, Coyote, never perform this trick more than four times in any one day.’

‘An Imperious Impulse’ is the first book of the Lore Weavers, a collection of ancient tales retold. All traditional cultures evolved stories through which the natural and supernatural worlds could be explained and approached. Beyond their entertainment and humour is a deeper layer of mystery and symbolism through which the wisdom of the people could be transmitted. Telling of a time beyond human experience or memory, these tales meld a knowledge of the natural world with the spiritual and moral code of their creators. The essence of the human quest for an understanding of our role within creation has changed little over the millennia.

From the Dreaming of the Australian peoples, to the Great Mystery of the Native Americans and the ancient Celtic myths, there is a common thread that unites humankind across time and distance. It is in the rich tapestry of folk tales that we glimpse its multi-hued beauty. Long may they continue to be

The books is available from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Imperious-Impulse-Coyote-Tales-Weavers/dp/1910478172

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Imperious-Impulse-Coyote-Tales-Weavers/dp/1910478172

A selection of other books by Sue Vincent and Stuart France

One of the reviews for Mister Fox: The Legends.

In almost every culture from the very earliest records we have, there are stories of the tricksters who use brains to triumph over larger, stronger, richer foes, frequently to aid people around them. Tricksters from ancient Prometheus—who tricked Zeus, stole fire, and gave it to mortals—to Loki, Anansi, Kokopelli, Lugh, Coyote, Crow, and so many more worked their clever, funny, and often helpful schemes.

Sue Vincent and Stuart France have added a page to that legend. But instead of simply retelling, they’ve pulled together the mystery and the dance, combined it with firelight and magic, and graphically presented an experience rather than a story. “I have seen them write in fire on the darkness…and heard the drums beaten with flaming brands.”

I can’t review this like a regular book, because my normal benchmarks—plot, pace, character development—are irrelevant. Oh, sure there are words—a new Trickster legend for Crow, and a tale-within-a-tale legend told appropriately by Punch, that most British of Tricksters. There are even inside jokes like the one in which the ancient Fox manuscript is lost when the original Sir Rufus Foxx has to flee the country after “disaster is visited on the family” by younger brother Guido Foxx (Guy Fawkes?).

But ultimately, all I can tell you is that this little book is more than the sum of its parts. The glowing artwork, with its puzzles and hints at so much more, is a much a part of the voice and the magic as the spare words. You can’t read this book as much as experience it. But if you do, you’ll know how art and fire and dance can combine to make magic. And just maybe a sky-full of stars too.

Read the reviews and buy the books from the following links.

Sue VincentUKUSAFranceGermany

Stuart FranceUKUSAFranceGermany

Connect to Sue and Stuart through their book website:  http://www.franceandvincent.com/

The next author with an update is Judith Barrow with a recent review for her book Secrets.

About the book

Ashford, home of the Howarth family,is a gritty northern mill town, a community of no-nonsense Lancashire folk, who speak their minds and are quick to judge. But how many of them are hiding secrets that wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of others?
Judith Barrow’s Howarth Family trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, Changing Patterns and Living in the Shadows, along with the prequel, A Hundred Tiny Threads, published by Honno Press, is peopled with just such characters. Here are some of their secret stories – the girl who had to relinquish her baby, the boy who went to war too young, the wife who couldn’t take any more…

“Judith Barrow has surpassed herself in writing this great family saga… There is such a wealth of fantastic characters to fall in love with and ones to hate! (Brook Cottage Books)

One of the most recent reviews for Secrets

This short but engrossing read introduces us to some of the characters in Barrow’s Pattern’s trilogy. These juicy tidbits reveal some of the secrets in backstory of some of the characters we’ll come to know in Barrow’s books. These secrets revolve around the family saga of the Howarth family in wartime England and continue into following decades. We get a sneak peak into what some of these characters endured, encompassing issues such as: An abused wife in Edith Jagger’s Secrets, Nelly Shuttleworth’s Secret about how she tried to save her baby from being taken at birth by fleeing a nun’s adoption home, Gwyneth’s Secret and about how she met the patriarch in Changing Patterns, a man we’ll love to hate.

All these stories leave us hanging and have us wanting to discover what happens next with a wonderfully written cast of characters who suffer tough times. If you love Family Saga stories you’ll love this series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-shadows-truth-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B072M7Q78V

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-shadows-truth-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B072M7Q78V

Also by Judith Barrow

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

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/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 final update today is for Lorinda J Taylor with the release of the third book in her series The Man Who Found Birds Amongst the Stars: Bird of Prey

About the book

Wounded physically and mentally by the disaster aboard the Darter, Capt. Nikalishin struggles in Part Two of this biography to overcome the aftereffects and find fulfillment in a life where his dream of flying to the stars has been lost. With the help of many friends, he achieves success as the Captain of a Mars ship, but still he remains lonely and dissatisfied, unable to cope with the secret phobias and misunderstandings that haunt his existence. When the woman of his dreams abruptly re-enters his life, he woos and weds her, in sequences that are filled with both comedy and pathos. The Captain was hoping to find a soul mate to assuage his loneliness. Will this radical alteration in his life really be the answer to his difficulties? Or will the marriage turn out to be a disastrous and even tragic mistake?

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Found-Birds-among-Stars-Three-ebook/dp/B076KV3P9Z

And from Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Found-Birds-among-Stars-Three-ebook/dp/B076KV3P9Z

A selection of other books by Lorinda J. Taylor

One of the most recent reviews for Book Two in the series: Wounded Eagle

At the beginning of the second book in the series, we find our hero, Captain Robbin Nikalishin regaining consciousness aboard the rescue ship Reliable. The untold horrors of the space disaster have left the captain suffering from PTSD, along with an all-encompassing guilt for the death of his best friend, Kolm MaGilligoody.

Psychologically, Robbie is in a bad place. Kolm’s death haunts him day and night. At times, the pain is so great he doesn’t feel he can go on. The physical damage of the crash has also taken its toll. The captain’s appearance has suffered from the effects of radiation poisoning, along with various bumps and bruises. These physical signs of trauma eventually abate, leaving behind the deep scars of emotional pain that Robbie must learn to embrace.

Captain Nikalishin discovers he has a long road ahead of him when it comes to healing from these psychological wounds. With the help of Dr. Souray, who becomes a surrogate mother to him, there is gradual improvement. The primary issue is that certain things set the captain off and he reverts back to relive the horror in a series of flashbacks. With the upcoming investigation into the crash, Robbie must be able to testify at a hearing and a trial.

While Robbie is undergoing extensive treatment, the issue of Prf. Karlis Eiginsh’s actions come to the forefront of the investigation. Why did he falsify equations to make the jump look safe when in reality it wasn’t? There is an interesting twist to this part of the story when the truth finally comes out that gives the reader a sneak peek into the man the captain is to become. I have to say, I thought it was great storytelling.

The book is long, but such is Robbie’s journey to reconcile who he is and who he has become. The mental trauma he suffered even caused him to question his desire to fly amongst the stars, and whether he could ever cope with the stressors of being a space captain again. Then, there are the unresolved issues Robbie has with his mother. The signs of that first mental damage from long ago always seem to resurface when he tries to have a relationship with a woman. Robbie’s wounds run deep, and to actually heal, he must come to grips with his demons.

I love this series. The writing is clear and concise and draws you into the character-driven plot. Yet, just like in the first book, I still find something poignant and raw about Robbie Nikalishin that makes me want to know more of his story. His character is imperfect, to say the least. I don’t know if he appeals to the mother in me or if I just want him to find peace and love.

Either way, the author has spun a tale filled with high drama and intrigue, healing and pain. I can’t wait to discover what happens next in book three coming soon! The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Two: Wounded Eagle: A Biographical Fiction

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lorinda-J-Taylor/e/B007AKHZW4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lorinda-J.-Taylor/e/B007AKHZW4

Read more reviews and follow Lorinda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5429943.Lorinda_J_Taylor

Connect to Lorinda via her blog: http://termitewriter.blogspot.ie/

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news from these authors around the usual haunts. Thanks Sally

 

 

Some Personal Stuff – My New Reading Chair and Resolution – Sally Cronin


I was a reader long before I was a writer but I have been failing miserably at the former. Part of it is the craving to write that overcomes me as soon as I switch on the slave master every morning. I really don’t care what format it takes. Verse, prose, blog post, Facebook comment or my shopping list. My fingers have a life of their own, and I thank my parent’s insistence, that despite my desire to be the next Ginger Rogers at age 16, they made me do a secretarial course at college for a year. ‘Something to fall back on’, they said wisely. ‘Should things not work out in your chosen career.’

I learned to type on a manual circa 1950 typewriter, with an eraser that ate through the paper to create a hole in the long and complex letter you were about to submit for your end of term exam! However, there were two of the new fangled electric machines that we rotated around to use one day a week…. a faster way to make a mistake.

If you have been following my series Odd Jobs and Characters being kindly hosted by fellow writers, you will probably have gathered that my career path was driven by other factors than choice. To be fair, now I am more or less settled into my current position, those random jobs have turned into a goldmine of memories that frequent my short stories and novels. However, it is important to take a break from your own fevered scrawlings, and refresh the parts of the brain that other activities cannot reach. Imagination needs to be recharged regularly with inspiration from other writers, and my TBR is toppling from the weight of their contributions!

Reading for me has become a soporific in the last ten minutes of my day. (If I am lucky to last that long). Despite a chapter being brimful of action and superb writing, I can drop off as quick as a ferret down a rabbit hole. Action needed to be taken… immediately.

An event occurred that prompted the purchase of another chair for the office. We have our television mounted on the wall in there, but with my sister coming for a visit, we needed to offer a comfortable alternative for our guest than the rather hard dining-room chair. Off we went shopping to a discount furniture store, and I backed up the original reason for the purchase, with two other important factors.

I need a chair positioned to take advantage of natural light, is comfortable and is away from the computer so that I can take an hour after lunch to read; whilst more or less awake.  I stopped being wishy washy about my new resolution, and began to say ‘I MUST read my book for an hour after lunch’. It has to become an institution rather than a passing whim.  (And I might extend the purpose by half an hour or so and get back to my tapistry).

The third reason for the purchase is that I need somewhere for my dog to sit whenever we get around to adopting him or her. I have a blanket that was a favourite of Sam’s, and it is just waiting to cover the new chair and accept the backside of my new muse.

They will however have to understand that for one hour after lunch, that it is my chair and make other arrangements.

Time for me to head off as I have just started to read A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow.… See you later.

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’ by Judith Barrow – the prequel to the Howarth Family Series is the backstory of two characters in Barrow’s acclaimed historical WW2 series and explains or illuminates at least, where they come from as people. Starting in 1911 over the years we uncover the threads that bind Winifred and Bill together. If you, like myself, missed the characters of Barrow’s series, here is a welcome encore.

There is no doubt that Judith Barrow is one gifted writer. The book is well-written, full of great characters and instilled with an impeccably authentic feel of the times.

The story begins with Winifred and her struggles with her mother, who is as oppressing for her daughter as are the politics of the time. It is the era of the Suffragette movement and Winifred’s Irish friend Honora drags Winifred into the movement and introduces her to her handsome brother.

It is also the story of Bill, injured in 1911 in the mines and abandoned by his sort of family. He’s in love with Winifred throughout.

A lot happnes, so even if you have read the other books in the series, there are enough surprises and twists for you to take delight from. Besides the parts on the Suffragettes and their clashes with the police, the novel also includes war segments and sections about the conflict between Blacks and Tans in Ireland. Details on war fare, mining, women’s rights and irish politics make this a rich and rewarding read.

Great characters, engaging subplots and a love for details are among the many strength of this author. Barrow is a master at bringing the times to colorfoul and breath-taking life. This is moving, gripping and heart-wrenchingly good.

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

Thanks for dropping in…. as always look forward to your feedback. Sally

 

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Judith Barrow and Vashti Quiroz-Vega


The first author is Judith Barrow whose latest release A Hundred Tiny Threads has received another wonderful review.

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.

The most recent review for the book

A Hundred Tiny Threads’ by Judith Barrow – the prequel to the Howarth Family Series is the backstory of two characters in Barrow’s acclaimed historical WW2 series and explains or illuminates at least, where they come from as people. Starting in 1911 over the years we uncover the threads that bind Winifred and Bill together. If you, like myself, missed the characters of Barrow’s series, here is a welcome encore.

There is no doubt that Judith Barrow is one gifted writer. The book is well-written, full of great characters and instilled with an impeccably authentic feel of the times.

The story begins with Winifred and her struggles with her mother, who is as oppressing for her daughter as are the politics of the time. It is the era of the Suffragette movement and Winifred’s Irish friend Honora drags Winifred into the movement and introduces her to her handsome brother.

It is also the story of Bill, injured in 1911 in the mines and abandoned by his sort of family. He’s in love with Winifred throughout.

A lot happnes, so even if you have read the other books in the series, there are enough surprises and twists for you to take delight from. Besides the parts on the Suffragettes and their clashes with the police, the novel also includes war segments and sections about the conflict between Blacks and Tans in Ireland. Details on war fare, mining, women’s rights and irish politics make this a rich and rewarding read.

Great characters, engaging subplots and a love for details are among the many strength of this author. Barrow is a master at bringing the times to colorfoul and breath-taking life. This is moving, gripping and heart-wrenchingly good.

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 book to be receiving great reviews is The Fall of Lilith: Fantasy Angels Series by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

About The Fall of Lilith:

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

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

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

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

They can even threaten the foundations of Heaven.

The most recent review for the book

on September 28, 2017

I don’t even know where to begin. This book was so amazing. It took the story of the fallen angels to a whole new level. Initially, I had hoped it was a story of Lilith, the first wife of Adam from Hebrew lore, but I was pleasantly surprised by the story I received.

The book is long, it is actually two books in one. The first is the story of the angels in Heaven. The reader is given a glimpse into the adolescence of God’s holy beings. You watch as Lilith learns of her ability to manipulate her siblings. She takes this gift and begins her desire to be as God. She convinces several of her weaker siblings to join her cause which leads to the battle for Heaven.

Book two takes you on the fallen angels’ journey across the new world God created, Earth. Here you experience the joys and pains as the angels discover their new gifts and realize they are free from the laws that bound them in Heaven.

Vashti is an incredible author with an amazing imagination. She created characters that you can’t help but fall in love with, and in some cases absolutely hate. She used the fallen angels to explain several mythological creatures and I found that to be ingenious.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy.

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

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

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

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

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

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

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

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will explore these books further.. If you have a recent review for your book that you would like to share then please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

AWARD: The Miranda Sings Award – A chance to say I Love Me!


I must admit to being very lax in recent weeks about the kind nominations for awards that I have been gifted. I did apologise at the time, but I have cleared my decks for the time being and felt like a little light-hearted escapism with this award from the lovely author and blogger – Judith Barrow : https://judithbarrowblog.com/2017/09/18/award-the-miranda-sings-awardmondayblogs/

and: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

This award is very self-indulgent as it is about us… a chance to state proudly what we love about ourselves without fear of sounding narcissistic (well just a little perhaps.. oh go on then… a lot). Judith had some terrific items on her list including the fact that she survived cancer.. now that is something that is definitely worth loving about yourself.

 

Here are the rules of the award...

  • Announce your win with a post, and link the blogger who nominated you.
  • Include the featured image on your blog post.
  • Nominate 10 bloggers (or as many as you can think of) and link your awardees in the post.
  • List 7 things you love about yourself. (This can be about your appearance, your personality, your achievements, etc.)

Don’t use negative connotation (i.e. Don’t say things like – “I’m prettier than an average person.” or “People have told me I’m smart.” You are pretty. You are smart.)

7 Things I Love About Myself

      1. I can sing. ( I thought appropriate to mention first since it is the Miranda Sings Award) From an early age… I mean from around five years old I could rattle off some of the noted musicals of the day.. Not necessarily word perfect since apparently I am Just A Cock Eyed Octopus (from South Pacific so made sense to me at the time) but I could do a mean Bali Hai and Bloody Mary (the song not the drink). I have done Karaoke in a number of gin joints around the world and once gigged during a riot with an Italian three piece (band not suit). A story for another day!
      2. I can swear in 5 languages. You might think that this is not lovable but when you are alone, and something goes terribly wrong, and there is nobody else to blame, some well chosen expletives can be very satisfying. I also happen to use quite frequently in the car when driving. This is much to the surprise of hitchhikers who think they have been picked up by a rather nice white-haired pensioner! This is where being able to swear in five languages comes in very handy, as they are usually impressed, and think I am just showing off my linguistic abilities.
      3. I love being tall. I am nearly six feet tall and there are some downsides, but there are more things that I love. I have long legs and even when chubby look good in jeans. I can wear full length skirts mid-calf with boots in the winter. I can see over the heads of crowds, which is very useful when you are waiting for someone at the airport and when I want to catch the eye of my husband (also tall) at a party and it is time to go! And I can reach the items on the top shelves of almost every supermarket.
      4. I love making people laugh. There is nothing gives me greater pleasure than hear others laugh, at me or with me, I don’t really care. I used humour growing up in various countries and all the different schools I went to, and it is really hard to bully the newbie, who laughs at themselves and makes you laugh too. It is about not being a victim, and humour can be a powerful tool for good. The Irish have always been good at telling jokes about themselves, and this is why, even in the remote Himalayas at the highest airport in the world, there is an Irish Bar.. The Irish have invaded every country in the world with humour, some good ale and a welcome to everyone. Of course a fight does break out sometimes in the process but hey… its Saturday night isn’t it?
      5. I love that I have been able to spend the last 20 years helping others achieve a healthier lifestyle after reclaiming my own. Being 150kilos or 330lbs is no fun and even though I am three stone off my lowest weight (and working on it) I am healthier now than when I was 44. This is probably one of my proudest achievements and also getting my diploma in nutritional therapy. I loved having my diet advisory centre and I still get notes from people who years later are pain free, at a healthy weight and are enjoying life more. Sometimes it is not just about weight loss but also the mental and emotional changes that occur. Increased self-esteem, the confidence to make changes at work and at home, and the fact that they are passing that message on to their family and friends. I retrained in my 40s so that I could indulge a passion of mine, but also have something that I would work at until I pass disgracefully through the gates of whichever place I end up.
      6. I love the fact that I have written books that have been enjoyed. As any author I have a dream or two about my writing and that one day I will see one or two of them on the silver screen.. But I am never happier when a reader tells me they have loved my book. Fantastic. And I hope to continue writing until I go through the gate mentioned above (if they let me in, if not I shall make my own arrangements.. I am a creative writer after all!).
      7. Finally and most importantly I love my luck in finding, and being found, by an amazing man who supports all of the above with his massively warm heart. I had a very shaky start with regards to love and marriage, and was happily free and single again when I met my husband. But within six weeks I was married to David and now 37 years later I have to say that I love my luck every day, and without it I could not do all of the above.

At this point am supposed to nominate ten bloggers to continue the thread.. I know that some of these people will have been nominated in other posts in the awards, but I hope that they will accept their nominations as more evidence of my good luck in meeting them here. I know how busy everyone is so no pressure guys. Just know I love you…

There are some people that I love and respect on blogging breaks at the moment such as Tina Frisco and Jo Robinson, that I have not mentioned in the list but are in my heart just the same.

D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies: https://dgkayewriter.com/guest-featured-author-book-mj-mallon-curse-time/

Annette Rochelle Aben: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/

Patricia Salamone: https://the-italian-thing.com/2017/09/20/finally/

Balroop Singh: https://balroop2013.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/how-to-pick-up-positive-vibes/

Mary Smith: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

Paul Andruss: http://www.paul-andruss.com/thomas-the-rhymer-review-2/

Robbie Cheadle: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/st-johns-college-cambridge/

M.J. Mallon: https://mjmallon.com/2017/07/29/cover-reveal-the-curse-of-time-book-1-bloodstone/

Geoff Le Pard: https://geofflepard.com/2017/09/09/dead-flies-and-sherry-trifle-sequel-secondsequel/

Shehanne Moore: https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/the-bonnie-prince-the-edinburgh-greats-and-some-dudes/

Thanks for dropping by and have a stupendous day….. Sally.

 

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Judith Barrow, Charles E. Yallowitz and Sandra J. Jackson


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week and there are new releases and fantastic reviews to share. The first author is Judith Barrow whose latest release A Hundred Tiny Threads has received another wonderful review.

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.

The most recent review for the book

A great foreshadowing on August 31, 2017

I greatly enjoyed Judith Barrow’s Howarth family trilogy, so I was delighted to find that she had now written a prequel, and A Hundred Tiny Thread is a wonderful addition to the story. In some ways I like it even better. Having read the trilogy, of course I know how the marriage of Winifred and Bill finally works out, but that does not hinder, in any way, my curiosity as to how it all began and it is a gripping and moving story that explains so much and yet leaves me constantly thinking, if only…

I would guess that this book would be just as welcome for people who have never read Pattern of Shadows. It is a story of two people, of no consequence in the eyes of history perhaps, but who play their part in some of the most traumatic events of the last century.

Bill is caught up in the horrors of the First World War and the atrocities of the Black and Tans, and Winifred is swept into the women’s suffrage movement and the violence that greeted it. But they both face private traumas too, in mines and chicken sheds and in births, deaths and scandals. Both, in their different ways, have a absolute determination to survive, but while Bill’s is on an almost animal level, Winifred shows the greater character.

As I said, if only… An excellent read.

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

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

Also by Judith Barrow

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

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

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

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

The next featured author is Charles E. Yallowitz with his latest book in the Legends of Windemere Series: Path of the Traitors

About Path of the Traitors

Hated and distrusted, Queen Trinity must leave the shadows and reach for redemption.

With their final battle on the horizon, the champions are faced with a long-lost piece of the prophecy. Unable to search for the crests that are rumored to be the key to survival, they must turn to a band of their former enemies for help. Sinister desires and hopes for redemption collide as Queen Trinity of the Chaos Elves leads the hunt and struggles to keep her companions on the path of heroism. Monsters, traps, mysteries, and their own pasts will rise up to stand in the way of these people who have spent their entire lives committing sins. Throughout it all, another old enemy is lurking in the shadows and determined to claim her own delicious prize.

By the end of their journey, those who survive will learn that being a hero is more than simply stepping into the light.

Head over and buy Path of the Traitors: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075PDTSZM

A selection of the most recent books by Charles Yallowitz

 

The most recent review for Ritual of the Lost Lamb released July 2017

A darkness has fallen on Windemere and even the gods and goddesses aren’t sure what to do. Heated debates ensue as one god pits against another while the Baron looks on gleefully. His rescue is almost at hand and he still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Luke Callindor is his prisoner and he intends to wreak as much pain and destruction as possible. How much can a champion take before he gives up the will to live?

Luke’s capture has fragmented the rest of the champions’ spirits as they know deep in their hearts that the final battle is coming and they need Luke’s leadership and strength if they have any hope of defeating the Baron. The group has one goal: rescue Luke using any means necessary. Nyx gathers what is needed to perform the ritual of the lost lamb with the help of the others. Dariana uses what psychic abilities she can to stave off a new enemy (thanks to her father, the Baron) but when the gods ask her to kill a family member, will she be able to or is this another test she’ll fail? Everyone’s lives are at risk in this dark installment of the Legends of Windemere, leading up to the final battle.

There’s a lot of darkness in this book but adds to the contrast between the Baron and the champions. While the Baron and his latest ally unleash death, destruction and pain on everything the champions hold dear, there’s a glimmer of hope. Each champion has the power to defeat the Baron and the only question remains: will they cross the line or will they die trying?

Brilliantly written, this is Yallowitz’s best book yet. He takes us deep into the bowels of darkness, thrusting the champions into unwinnable situations and we, the readers, get to witness it. The torture scenes with Luke were hard to read yet done with a subtlety I found refreshing. The new enemy (won’t say who it is because I don’t want to spoil it for you) gives new meaning to a demented evil creature. The ending was so well done, I applauded. I can’t wait for the final battle!

If you enjoy epic fantasy with a dark side, give this a read. It’s a stand alone (as is each of the books in the series) but I recommend reading the previous books first. Trust me on this.

Favorite Character/Quote: “They think eradicating evil is the way to save the world, but too much good could be just as dangerous. One can really only keep darkness at bay or you risk wasting the limited years that you have been given in complacency. After all, not all of us can ascend.”

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Charles E Yallowitz/e/B00AX1MSQA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charles-E-Yallowitz/e/B00AX1MSQA

Read more reviews and follow Charles on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6965804.Charles_E_Yallowitz

Connect to Charles via his website: http://www.legendsofwindemere.com/

Another new release on September 14th for Sandra J. JacksonPlaying in the Rain ( Escape Series Book 1).

About Playing in the Rain

There’s nothing harder than pretending to be unaware, robotic even, but that’s exactly what A2 has to do once the drug starts wearing off. Constantly being followed by the camera’s red eye, A2 is mindful of her every move as she tries to understand where she is and why. Things get more complicated for her when she is introduced to another robotic girl.

Who is she and how did they both get there?

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Rain-Escape-Book-1-ebook/dp/B075NN3HQ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075NN3HQ4

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

A review for Promised Soul

A Very Human Fantasy on November 28, 2016

Promised Soul by Sandra J. Jackson is the story of an ordinary person going through an extraordinary adventure. Krista, a Canadian, discovers she has a connection with a young woman named Mary, who lived in the early 1900’s in England. What I liked about this novel is that the characters face unusual situations and events like normal people. Jackson has tapped into the behavior of functional human beings. It is refreshing that she did not give her heroine supernatural powers to deal with supernatural occurrences; instead, she evokes empathy with her characters by her precise and accurate depiction of real people. Krista has doubts and questions, just like most people would in her situation. Another thing I appreciated about Promised Soul is the how the characters care for the welfare of others. Although Promised Soul is technically a romantic fantasy, Sandra Jackson makes it real.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read many more reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her website: http://www.sandrajjackson.com

Please help share the news of these authors through the community… thanks.

Thank you for dropping by and if you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore with a new release or great recent review then please let me know in case I miss.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your #Reviews – Richard M. Ankers, Judith Barrow and Sacha Black


Welcome to the first of the review posts this week and the first author is Richard M. Ankers with the third book in his trilogy –  Into Eternity – The Eternals Series.

About Into Eternity

Queen Serena and her allies have fled the Nordic massacre, taking Princess Linka with them. For Jean, it’s heartbreak; for Merryweather and the abandoned Aurora, far worse. Not even the return of a broken Prince Grella and a dramatic escape from an obliterated Hvit softens the blow of their loss. Tempers flare and the pursuit resumes.

Leaving the Arctic ice behind, Jean and the others must reconcile with both current and past deaths, as they close in on the Baltic home of the hated Duke Gorgon. Here, their enemies gather and confrontation is inevitable.

Under Merryweather’s frustrating tutelage, Jean marches from one infuriating revelation to another, but as the lies unravel and the truth unfurls, he discovers the Britannian is not the fool he’s taken him for. The enigmatic Merryweather appears the key to the greatest mystery of all. But will he ever show his true colors?

In the stunning climax to The Eternals Series, a brooding Jean must do what he’s never done before: place his trust in others. For only at the end of all things, as the sun dies and Shangri-La falls, will Jean know what it means to step Into Eternity.

The most recent review for the book

The third book of The Eternals trilogy is entertaining from start to finish, bring back Jean, Aurora, Walter, and Sunyin for one final adventure.

Filled with colorful prose that fits the setting well, it tells a tale that spans an impossible amount of time to great effect. In particular, it brings the character of Walter Merryweather, a mainstay of the series from the get go, into the spotlight, and makes him much more than the dandy we’ve come to know and love(?)

Though there are some parts that stretch the imagination to the breaking point, it never becomes so much as to overburden the reader. All in all, a very solid end to a trilogy.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Into-Eternity-Eternals-Book-3-ebook/dp/B073PT8XYR

and: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Into-Eternity-Eternals-Richard-Ankers/dp/1974296911

Also by Richard Ankers

One of the most recent reviews for Book One in the Series The Eternals

Vampires, shifting landscapes, cloned monks & 500 year old princesses, this amazing tale has them all. The main character, Jean, is a loveable rogue, trying desperately to keep one step ahead of those in pursuit. This face-paced story is fun with more than a few tongue-in-cheek quips which caused me to read with a wide grin on my face. Intensely descriptive, fiercely imaginative & highly entertaining, I loved this from start to finish.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-M.-Ankers/e/B01GEM7690

and: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-M.-Ankers/e/B01GEM7690

Follow Richard Ankers on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15271976.Richard_M_Ankers

Connect to Richard via his blog:  https://richardankers.com/

The next author with a great review for her latest release 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.

The latest review for the book

How I discovered this book: I’d read the rest of this series and was looking forward to this prequel. I highly recommend the short stories attached to the series, Secrets.

This is the fourth book in the Pattern of Shadows series, though in some ways the first, because it’s the prequel to the others, which are set in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. I’d recommend reading it first, anyway. It spans the years 1911 to 1923, and tells the story of earlier members of the Howarth family.

So, there was me thinking this was going to be an ‘eh-up, love, put the kettle on’ family drama amongst the cobbles, with a bit of WW1 angst thrown in. I was wrong; it’s so much more than that, and far more interesting. The book starts with Winifred Duffy, daughter of ‘orrible Ethel, joining up with some enchanting Irish scallywags with irritating dialogue tics who are involved in the fight for the women’s vote. The story was jogging along in a modest fashion, until (enter stage left) along came Winifred’s grandmother, Florence, who I loved, and whose story was heartbreaking. A moment later I was reintroduced to Bill Howarth (Mr Prologue), a thoroughly unlikeable character who grew increasingly despicable, and all of a sudden I realised I was engrossed. I do love a well-written nasty piece of work, and Judith Barrow has done a masterful job with Howarth. He’d had a bad start in life, yes, but I didn’t pity him; my loathing of him grew more intense as the book progressed.

The saga moves through the treatment of the suffragettes, lost love, unwanted pregnancy, dark family secrets, the evil, pointless horror of WW1, the general godawful fate of the impoverished classes, the 1919 influenza epidemic, the atrocities committed by the Black and Tans ~ this is no rose-tinted piece of nostalgia, and no detail is spared. Saddest of all is the life of Winifred, in many ways; although she finds some degrees of happiness, the theme all the way through seemed to be how women of the time had to put up and shut up, and accept what they got, even if it was so much less than they deserved. This aspect of the book is so well done, without being hammered home. I was pleased that, although there was resolution, there was no great happy ending. 100 Tiny Threads is about real life, and quite an eye-opener it is too; it made me glad I wasn’t born fifty years earlier, for sure.

When I got to the end, I wanted to nip back to Pattern of Shadows, set in WW2, to find out what happened to Bill and Winifred; it’s two or three years since I read it, and I can’t remember. D’you know, I think I will.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

and: https://www.amazon.com/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: 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 final author today is Sacha Black whose debut release 13 Steps to Evil has been receiving terrific reviews.

About the book

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

+ How to develop a villain’s mindset
+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
+ Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
+ What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

Two of the latest reviews for the book

I’ve been writing novels for twenty years, been published for eight, and the truth is that nowadays I very rarely bother with How To Write books. It isn’t that I think I know everything. It’s that over the years I’ve seen lots of the same old stuff repackaged many times.

This book isn’t one of those books. This book is bloody good. I learned from it. New ideas, new twists, and new connections, all presented with cleverness and humour. Sacha Black expects her readers to be intelligent. I like that in an author.

A great reference guide to how to write wicked villains. Chocked full of examples, samples, a few appendixes, and other goodies to help you along your way to create evil characters. The psychology behind the evilness is a wonderful insight to why good guys go to the dark side. A must-read for writers who want to develop believable villains.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0722X7Y4P

and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0722X7Y4P

Connect to Sacha via her blog: http://sachablack.co.uk/about/

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope if you have not already slipped these books into your TBR…. you will head over and check them out.. thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – New books released by Judith Barrow, Dariel Raye and Mary Clark


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update, with news and reviews from some of the authors on the shelves. I try to keep up with everyone, but it really helps me out if you share your news with me.

Very happy to feature you every four to six weeks and that is at least 12 promotions a year that keeps your books in the minds of my followers here and on social media. It is FREE and just takes a few minutes to drop me an email sally.cronin@moyhill.com.  Have you checked your entry in the bookstore recently..Do you have a new release that has not been featured or have you changed a book cover? Let me know so I can update alongside these new books over the weekend. Thanks Sally.

The first guest this morning is Judith Barrow who has just released her long awaited prequel to her series set between the end of World War II and the 1960s. I have read the trilogy and will be adding this next book and Secrets, Judith’s short story collection to my next Amazon shopping run. Here is A Hundred Tiny Threads – Hot off the press yesterday.

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.

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

Also by Judith Barrow

Here is the most recent review for Secrets – short story collection

Very enjoyable  on July 17, 2017

This is a wonderful collection of short stories, focussing on characters from Judith Barrow’s Howarth family trilogy and giving a brief but heartfelt glimpse into some of their lives, pre saga. Including situations and misfortunes, some of which were brought about by the restrictions and expectations of the time, unmarried women who have no choice but to give up their baby and the cruelty meted out to a conscientious objector to name just a couple. Others which are sadly still relevant today, namely the victims of incest and rape.

All are well written and filled with emotional reality, but these are the stand outs for me.

Edith Jagger’s Secret tells of an abused wife and the desperate measures she took to escape.

In Stan Green’s Secret, Stan, desperate to leave home, signed up for the army with his friend, Ernie. Both boys were underage and despite slight misgivings, they were unaware of what horrors awaited them or the enormity and terrible consequences of their decision.

Gwyneth Griffiths’ Secret means a life on the run from an abusive husband.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/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/

Another author with a new book on the shelves is Dariel Raye with Outreach: An Orlosian Warriors Novella which was published at the end of July.

About Outreach

Broken dreams, an ancient enigma tainted by the past, and a mystical bond beyond time and space.

Thrilled about receiving funding for her new outreach program, Jaci meets Andreus and embarks on a journey wrought with mystery and answers to questions that have plagued her for years.

Three years after the accident, Jaci Allen believes she is as lost now as she was the day she awakened to the sudden, tragic deaths of her husband and two-year old daughter. Throwing herself into her work has allowed her to avoid the reminders of her broken dreams, leaving her dangerously empty inside, always seeking…something.

Accused and convicted of the murder of his adoptive mother’s husband at the age of sixteen, Andreus admits his guilt, but acknowledges to himself that his memories of the night the abusive man was killed remain incomplete at best.
Meeting Jaci ignites the awakening of Andreus’ frightening special gifts – gifts he has not only tried to hide from the rest of the world, but from himself. Can two shattered souls find a way to heal one another?

One of the early reviews for Outreach

It is the first story I have read by Dariel Raye, and I am very impressed. She built the atmosphere of mystery and tension very well, and unveiled each piece of the puzzle in a way, that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story was fast paced, with a few twists and turns, and a couple of big surprises. Not knowing what Orlosian warriors were, that was a big one.

The characters were very interesting and complicated. Both Jaci and Andreus struggle with their traumatic past, hunted by the reassuring nightmares, but feeling an instant bond the moment they met. It was very easy to care about both of them, about their tragedies and what they will face in the future. I liked them very much, and would love to read about them again.

The whole premise of the Orlosian universe and who they were was fascinating. I loved following Andreus’ awaking, from a vague feeling of being different, to fully embracing his powers. And the electricity between Jaci and Andreus was wonderful.

Highly recommended to any paranormal romance lover. Or to anybody, who would like to try this genre. I was hooked from the beginning to the end and would love to read more about this universe.

Read the other reviews and buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/Outreach-Orlosian-Warriors-Dariel-Raye-ebook/dp/B072V52GRW

Also by Dariel Raye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Dariel-Raye/e/B008NRCZ0K

Read other reviews and follow Dariel on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/806122.Dariel_Raye

Connect to Dariel via her blog: http://www.pendarielraye.com/

The final author today with a new book being released shortly is Mary Clark with the second book in the Leila Payson series – Racing the Sun. It is on pre-order for

About Racing the Sun

Leila and her friends are back with more adventures in Racing The Sun, a short novel and sequel to Miami Morning. Leila works to start her new group, bringing together people of varying abilities. She meets Doug, a paraplegic, who wants to design and build better wheelchairs. With Leila’s support he prepares to debut his new chair at a local race. Leila’s relationship with Mark evolves, and she discovers both her father and mother have secret lives.

Leila’s friend Dov goes to Cuba in search of his new love, the hunky bird guide, Nìco. Cran, the father of Leila’s friend Charles, and husband of the erstwhile Berry, loves his vintage cars. After a racing accident, his life takes a different course. Leila and Mark visit Africa, where they have both worked before. And what does Doug mean–and Leila understand–when he says he feels like he’s racing the sun?

The book is at a very special pre-order price until August 22nd: https://www.amazon.com/Racing-Sun-Leila-Payson-Book-ebook/dp/B074QLPLR3

Also by Mary Clark

One of the excellent reviews for the first book in the series – Miami Morning

Miami Morning is an excellently written novel that is a “must read” for anyone who has been involved in the educational system. It is a book that would be highly enjoyed by anyone who is or ever has been a teacher, student, or parent. Since I have been all three at one time or another, I truly loved reading this book and savored the experience by stretching it out a few weeks. The author, Mary Clark, has divided the book into very short chapters (usually only a couple of pages each), and so I was able to enjoy making this book part of my morning wake-up-to-the-world ritual by starting each day with a relaxing read of a couple of chapters, along with a cup of coffee.

The main character is Leila Payson, a Social Studies teacher in Miami, who goes to South Africa to teach and learns the importance of listening to the people with physical challenges that she served as though they were “equal citizens” of the community rather than “her students” or “disabled.” When she brings this lesson of compassionate perspective back to Miami and applies it in her teaching there, she is able to help resolve a number of challenges that students share with her, including those who are struggling with problems like drug addiction and life issues like disabilities including hearing impairment. As she weaves through these challenges with her students, the reader is privy to both her inner philosophical dialogues and profound communications with students and colleagues. I thought that the highlight of the book was in the deep questions brought up concerning the importance of a strong community for a person facing hearing impairment. She makes a psychologically powerful case that no one overcomes adversity without help from others.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Clark/e/B00DE1O5LW

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242815.Mary_Clark

Connect to Mary via her website: http://maryclarkauthor.weebly.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will head over and check these new books out.. thanks Sally