Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Wealth #Relationships #humour – Sharon Marchisello, Lisa Thomson, Barb Taub and Molly Stevens.


We are in the last phase of the Christmas Promotions of books in the Cafe. So far I have tried to group books into genres (loose sometimes) and now I am sharing some of the books that are stand alone or are in a non-fiction category.

Such as the first book, published in November, by Sharon Marchisello and reflects her experience within the financial sector. We all would like to reach a state of financial security or independence, and this book is aimed at guiding us to that state. Live Well, Grow Wealth: A Commonsense Guide to Shrinking Your Financial Footprint.

About the book.

Live Well, Grow Wealth is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

And early review for the book

Sharon’s writing is warm and friendly as well as instructive. After a few pages, I felt I was sitting in her kitchen, sharing conversation and a cup of coffee. The clearly defined objectives of each chapter resonate with audiences from teens to us “aging baby boomers.” As one of the latter, I appreciated the message that it’s never too late – nor too difficult.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1986446123

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Live-Well-Grow-Wealth-Commonsense/dp/1986446123

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

Connect to Sharon via her blog: https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/

Now time for some short stories… from an author who has also written two books on a subject that is not necessary very festive… Divorce. However, this romantic collection of stories may well help prevent reaching that point in a relationship! Lisa Thomson with Hearts Unbroken.

About the collection

Hearts Unbroken is a short story collection about love, loss and healing our broken hearts.
Marriage, love, divorce, and loss are fascinating subjects that provide a sharp backdrop to the human experience. How we love, have our hearts broken, and rebound, create stories that connect us. This collection touches on a variety of scenarios. Extra-marital affairs, abandonment, single parenting, widowhood, and finding love again, are the themes explored.

In the face of loss, we often rise from the ruins, surprised by our own ability to heal, as the characters show us. Mack is a single father, abandoned by his wife. He views himself as a broken down Chevy of a father—yet his two children love him all the same. Rachel is a young widow, having lost the man she loves, unexpectedly. We see her grief unfold and love grow again. Ava, is a married woman with a dirty secret, can her catholic marriage survive? This collection of short stories offers the reader much to contemplate when it comes to love and loss. Above all, it offers hope. Watching the variety of characters putting their broken hearts back together, will inspire the deepest cynic to love again.

One of the early reviews for Hearts Unbroken.

Hearts Unbroken’ by Lisa Thomson is an anthology of short stories that tug at reader’s heart, as they talk about human emotions and relationships, some of them so fragile that they need a solo long drive to figure them out. Sarah’s marriage is a façade and she discovers it the day she decides to attend her family reunion without her husband who has no respect for her emotions and desires. He shrugs her off with an insensitive remark. No less poignant are the questions of Samantha who is too little to understand why her mommy is not coming home to tuck her in her bed.

Lisa excels in bringing out raw emotions without letting them melt into a melodrama. Her characters move on with their life despite heavy baggage of betrayal and internal strife. If Kora felt imprisoned within her own home, she had the courage to break free from the dazzling world of Jack, if Ava had rebuffed men to avoid an affair, she also knew how to calm her carnal desires. Grief stricken Rachel could rise to the occasion to save Alex. All these persons seem to be so familiar. They could be one of our friends, struggling with an unhappy marriage or a neighbor who doesn’t know how to deal with domestic abuse.

Lisa’s stories deal with these realistic problems in the most authentic manner, holding the reader’s interest till the end. If you wonder what good relationships are and how they can be nurtured, read this book. If men fail to appreciate the role of a woman in their homes and how much work is required to keep it blossoming, they would surely learn from Mack. I devoured this book within hours!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Unbroken-Stories-Lisa-Thomson-ebook/dp/B07CV8D2RH

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hearts-Unbroken-Stories-Lisa-Thomson-ebook/dp/B07CV8D2RH

Also by Lisa Thomson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Thomson/e/B007HNG4CQ/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lisa-Thomson/e/B007HNG4CQ/

Read more reviews and follow Lisa on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6692957.Lisa_Thomson

Connect to Lisa via her website: http://www.lisathomsonlive.com/

Another author who has written a book on one of the phases of life that most of us face is Barb Taub with her humorous book published in January of this year. Life Begins When the Kids Leave Home.. and the dog dies.

About the book

Chapter 1. A California girl named Barb met her prince of a guy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. (Actually, he was a Republican. But he was definitely tall.) They fell in love, and got married. Chapter 2. He brought her to his castle in England and they lived happily ever after. THE END** **Luckily, 35+ years of living happened between Chapters 1 and 2, giving Barb plenty of material for this collection (in no particular chronological order) from her newspaper columns, articles, blog posts, and that time she killed Mom. And that’s before

Chapter 3 even starts. “I have learned to put down the coffee and place breakable objects at a safe distance when a post from Barb Taub comes up. It is very hard to drink coffee and laugh at the same time without redecorating the desk…”—author Sue Vincent Bio: In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side (an HR career).

Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle , a hobbit house, and a Scottish isle with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Considering all her days are now Saturdays, Barb is amazed that this is her sixth book.

One of the reviews for the book.

Ritu 5.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously realistic! 18 August 2018

Now, I am not quite at retirement stage, not looking out for grandchildren, as my own kids are still young, thankfully, but I enjoyed reading Barb Taub’s collection of essays immensely!

The articles about motherhood resonated deeply, and I have to say I snorted with laughter at many! Barb Taub has a way with words, her humour is brilliant and these short essays keep you turning the pages.

You could dip in and out of this book, but I was so immersed, I read it continually (when my own children would allow) until the very last page! Definitely recommended!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Begins-When-Kids-Leave/dp/1976934125

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Begins-When-Kids-Leave-ebook/dp/B079428DNQ

Also by Barb Taub

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Taub/e/B00EZP9BS8/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barb-Taub/e/B00EZP9BS8

Follow Barb Taub on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7267656.Barb_Taub

Connect to Barb via her website: https://barbtaub.com/about/

The the final author today is Molly Stevens whose created a picture book story for those of us of a certain age. Boomer on the Ledge.

About Boomer on the Ledge.

Do you believe aging is grim? Something to tolerate while waiting for the reaper? Be prepared to challenge this assumption when you read: Introducing: Boomer on the Ledge.™ Molly Stevens observed her grandsons discovering Christmas magic with an elf who monitored their behavior and reported it to Santa. As invasive as that seemed, she realized no one watches people in her age group unless scanning for signs of dementia. She felt invisible and needed validation. So she created a little doll whose daily surprises reminded her how being a boomer is both harrowing and hilarious. From the mundane to the sublime, let Boomer on the Ledge™ help you transform grim into grins while you explore the antics of an aging boomer.

The most recent review for the book

Who is a boomer ? What does a boomer look like ? Is there a stereotype? Would everyone become a boomer sometime or is it the select few ? The answers to all these questions and more are provided through this short and sweet book, almost as small as a comic book of yore. Yes, the book is short, too short for my like, leaving me with the the wish for more. But it is like cranberry sauce, one always feels like going for a second helping. 

Read the reviews and buy the book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Boomer-Ledge-Molly-Stevens-ebook/dp/B075YBHMZ7

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boomer-Ledge-Molly-Stevens-ebook/dp/B075YBHMZ7

Connect to Molly Stevens via her website: http://www.shallowreflections.com

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you leave with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Third Day of Christmas with guests Jennie Fitzkee and Lisa Thomson


On the Christmas before we left for Cape Town and aged eight I was in a bit of a quandary. I had searched the house top to bottom looking for my Christmas presents including the in the basement which was officially out of bounds, unless I was with my sister listening to her record player which had been banished from my father’s earshot.

I had found my five year old brother’s present which I have to say being a tomboy I was more than envious of. It was a red cowboy hat, waistcoat and holster with a silver six shooter… I knew who the weakest link in the family was and I applied pressure daily to find out what my gift was… Eventually the week before the big day he partially cracked and announced heatedly that it had ‘four wheels and you pushed it’.

You will probably gather that a dolly pram was not exactly what I had in mind. But I was a properly brought up child, and whilst I was more excited by the books that I received, I showed appropriate gratitude for said pram, which held a blonde haired replica of what my mother considered to be the perfect child……

It took me 24 hours, but I was was wearing the holster, gun and cowboy hat which I borrowed from the end of my brother’s bed while he slept. Sadly…. when we left a few months later for South Africa the pram had to be left behind and of course by the time we got back two years later I was a teenager and it was gifted to another.

Time for a little music and here is Bing Crosby with the classic I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Time to look at how Christmas is celebrated around the world and you can read more via Why Christmas.

Today a look at Egypt where around 15% of the population are christian and celebrate Christmas. They are far more serious about advent than we are here, with a 43 day period of abstinence from all animal products. It is 43 days because they don’t celebrate Christmas until January 7th as in Russia, Ethiopia and Serbia.

There is a special service on Christmas Eve that sometimes go on until the early morning. Having been so good before Christmas, families go to town for their Christmas dinner with a favourite being ‘Fata’ a lamb stew containing bread, rice and garlic.

A great many other Egyptians also celebrate Christmas, but in the commercial sense with most supermarkets selling traditional foods and hotels and restaurants hosting special festivities.

We are now on Day three and in the traditional 12 days this would be 27th December and celebrates the life of St John the Apostle. John and his brother James were disciples of Jesus and John is probably the only one of the apostles who did not suffer a martyr’s death. He lived a relatively long life and is attributed as the author of several books in the New Testament.

The origins of the Twelve Days of Christmas will probably never really be clarified as several people lay claim to it. France is the likely suspect but it has been sung in various formats since about 1780 in England. I suspect that modern day pop stars would be delighted to have their songs still being chanted 240 years later.

As far as the song is concerned according to folklore the Three French Hens probably refer to a variety of chicken from France. There are a number breeds of chicken associated with France particular around the time of the origins of the song. These were the Crevecoeur, Houdans and the La Fleche. I also suspect that the elite of the day thought that using the term French Hen sounded more upmarket that chicken!

Time for my first guest…..

Time for my first guest who is the lovely pre-school teacher and Wedding dancer and singer Jennie Fitzkee. If you have not visited Jennie’s wonderful blog, please do and rediscover the joy of reading along with the children in her classroom. Here is the link to part one of a three part series on Language, Literacy and Storytelling

And if you are wondering about the Wedding dancer and singer bit.. then find out more and meet the Mermatrons

Here is what Jennie had to share about her most favourite Christmas gift ever

1989 was a year of very little money. It was also the year our son desperately wanted the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier for Christmas. Yes, desperately. Ninety nine dollars was the price tag, and that might as well have been nine million dollars. We couldn’t get him his dream. He understood, sort of. He never complained, yet we talked about that dream occasionally over the years.

When he became engaged to be married, we spent Christmas with her family. He unwrapped a huge package from her parents. And there it was, the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier. I don’t know who cried first, but there were many tears shed. Everyone watched in delight as this now grown man played with his beloved toy. Sometimes dreams do come true.

How lovely and what a moment.. I did manage to find a picture of a GI Joe Aircraft Carrier

I had a few ideas of what I could get Jennie as a gift for Christmas and eventually decided on a virtual invitation to join in with the next Mama Mia flashmob… location to be determined…courtesy of Youtube

 

Time for another recipe from Carol Taylor from one of our cook from scratch posts in recent weeks. Cranberries have long been associated with Christmas and usually in cranberry sauce to go with the turkey, however you might like to create a starter from these delicious ingredients. You can find other cranberry recipes Here

Camembert Puffs:

These little puffs don’t take long to make so if I need a quick snack if visitors pop in around sundowner time then these don’t take long. I always keep a little box of already cut puff pastry squares which I can just pop in the oven and I always have a container of cranberry as we like it in a sandwich if we have cold chicken or pork and it is lovely with hot meat or pork schnitzels which I just top with some cream cheese and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.

Ingredients:

• I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.
• 125 gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.
• 100gm Cranberry Sauce.
• 1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.
• 1 large egg, beaten.

To Make:

  1. Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.
  2. Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite-sized squares ( 3cm)
  3. Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins.
  4. Put into pre-heated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.
  5. Garnish with Thyme.

My next guest is Lisa Thomson whose passion for writing began during her divorce and has blossomed into more creative pursuit without losing that drive to help others. Her two self-help books, “The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage” and “A divorce Companion”, help economically-dependent women going through divorce. You can also find helpful posts on the subject on her blog 10 Reasons to watch the War of the Roses again…

“Hearts Unbroken-short stories”, is her first published fiction. Lisa resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Lisa shares her most favourite Christmas present ever….

It was 1976 and I was in seventh grade. My best Christmas present ever was a brand new pair of skis, a ski jacket and proper ski pants!

The year before I had been enrolled in ski lessons along with my two brothers. It was exciting. It was thrilling to fly down the snow covered slopes! The only problem was, I hadn’t the proper jacket or pants to wear. We rented the equipment which was fine by me! But my warmest pants happened to be a pair of corduroy slacks. Unfortunately, they tore during one of my lessons. How embarrassing! For the next lesson I fixed them up by sewing them myself. I was 11 years old and not exactly proficient in my sewing skills, LOL. I was proud of myself though and wore them again. When another skier looked at my pants in the tow rope line up, and pointed at the stitching, she asked “Did you sew those yourself?” I must have blushed 50 shades of pink. “Yes,” I answered hesitantly. I’ve never been more mortified. Why on earth did I think I could sew and no one would notice?

Well, getting that brand new ski suit and skis was dreamy and the best Christmas present of my childhood, hands down! I did NOT say pants down…

Oh my, I do feel for Lisa, and one does hope that the skier in question got stuck on the ice on the ski lift for a very long time by her tongue……

So I headed off to ‘Youtube’ and I have secured an invitation to the next Freelance Nutcases Ski Expo – you will however have to provide your own health insurance.

A review for Hearts Unbroken.

Hearts Unbroken’ by Lisa Thomson is an anthology of short stories that tug at reader’s heart, as they talk about human emotions and relationships, some of them so fragile that they need a solo long drive to figure them out. Sarah’s marriage is a façade and she discovers it the day she decides to attend her family reunion without her husband who has no respect for her emotions and desires. He shrugs her off with an insensitive remark. No less poignant are the questions of Samantha who is too little to understand why her mommy is not coming home to tuck her in her bed.

Lisa excels in bringing out raw emotions without letting them melt into a melodrama. Her characters move on with their life despite heavy baggage of betrayal and internal strife. If Kora felt imprisoned within her own home, she had the courage to break free from the dazzling world of Jack, if Ava had rebuffed men to avoid an affair, she also knew how to calm her carnal desires. Grief stricken Rachel could rise to the occasion to save Alex. All these persons seem to be so familiar. They could be one of our friends, struggling with an unhappy marriage or a neighbor who doesn’t know how to deal with domestic abuse.

Lisa’s stories deal with these realistic problems in the most authentic manner, holding the reader’s interest till the end. If you wonder what good relationships are and how they can be nurtured, read this book. If men fail to appreciate the role of a woman in their homes and how much work is required to keep it blossoming, they would surely learn from Mack. I devoured this book within hours!

Time for a carol and one of the favourites of mine as a child….and sung by another great artist – Nat King Cole

You cannot leave the party without enjoying a festive drink… or two

Mulled wine is not the invention of early Christmas revellers as the Romans were heating red wine a long time before and no doubt other pagan cultures too. After all it is a delightful drink. They even spiced it up and it was the invading Roman soldiers who took it through Europe and into Britain and like their long straight roads that still exist today, they left behind their recipes for us to enjoy.

It has various levels of sobriety from non-alcoholic through to lethal. Concoctions abound with port and spirits being added liberally. Apart from Christmas it is also drunk extensively in ski resorts and there is usually a mobile aid station at the bottom of the slopes at the end of the day. I do not trust two short planks down a mountainside at 60 miles an hour but would of course force myself to await my husband after his black runs for an hour or so fortified with a couple of mugs of warmed wine.

In the Scandinavian countries and the Alps it is usually referred to as Glögg, or Gløgg the accent differing from place to place and dependent on inebriation.

Here is a lovely recipe that should be delightful on cold nights leading up to Christmas: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/235298/hot-mulled-wine/

Thank you for dropping in today and please let us know about your most memorable Christmas gift  in the comments… and if you could share that would be amazing.. thanks Sally.

My guests tomorrow are Olga Nunez Miret, Norah Colvin, and Amy Reade.. I hope you will join us.

 

Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – #Music requests from Stevie Turner, Jaye Marie, Lisa Thomson and Dolly Aizenman.


I thought I would share this in the ‘just after midnight slot’ as Letter’s From America is now on a short break until a couple of weeks before Christmas, when my letters to my parents began again following their return to the UK at the end of November.

Unfortunately there was not the space or time to play all of the guest requests at the four meals over the weekend but I promised to do so during the week. Here were the missing tracks from Brunch.You can find more about these guests in more detail Sunday Lunch

Author Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. You can read more at Stevie Turner  Stevie has a wonderful blog and you will find short stories, interviews, posts on writing and also ones that give you something to think about such as this one on education: Exams fiasco

Here is a selection of Stevie’s books, find them all and the reviews Amazon

Stevie mentioned Rimsky-Korsakov’sScheherazade’ as her favourite piece of music and I found part of the 2nd movement of the suite.

Jaye Marie is one-half of the writing partnership, Anita & Jaye Dawes.

Jaye will often be found around the blogging community and social media and is very generous about sharing all our posts. You can find out more about Jaye and enjoy posts and book reviews on her blog Jaye’s books and reviews can be found on Amazon

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Jaye requested something from the 1980s which offered me an excuse for a walk down memory lane….so I selected Take My Breath Away by Berlin.. for lovers of Top Gun.. and to remind you that they are making a sequel.

Lisa Thomson is a recent and welcome addition to the Cafe and Bookstore.

Her two self-help books, “The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage” and “A divorce Companion”, help economically-dependent women going through divorce. “Hearts Unbroken-short stories”, is her first published fiction. Lisa now resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. You can find out more about Lisa on her website  You can find and read the reviews for Lisa’s books on Amazon

Lisa requested American Pie by Don McLean and explains: So much music means everything to me but the last month it’s been this song. It reminds me of my childhood, a time when my family was close.Courtesy of maildavenow

You can buy Don McLean’s music on Amazon

And my final request comes from Dolly Aizenman of Kool Kosher Kitchen blog and cookery book.

Dolly is now semi-retired, loves to cook, and has time on her hands to share recipes and exchange new food ideas. Find out more, including the fabulous recipes from around the world on Dolly’s website  You can find Kool Kosher Kitchen and reviews on Amazon

Dolly requested Yesterday by The Beatles courtesy of Various Artists – Topic

Thank you so much for tuning in and for all the comments and shares for the End of Summer Posts.

There is one final celebration and that is tomorrow morning, just after midnight, when Paul Andruss, who has been on an extended break, shares a brand new post written to bring this week long party to a close.