Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – C.S. Boyack, Lizzie Chantree and Mae Clair


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week, with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is C.S. Boyack for Voyage of the Lanternfish.

About Voyage of the Lanternfish

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

One of the recent reviews for the book

July 23, 2019

I bought and read this book back in January and somehow managed to forget to review it until now, six months later, lol. So, here my review is, at last. It says a lot that even after all this time, I still remember this book and its characters clearly, which is one reason I mention my little episode of forgetfulness now.

I’ve read other books by this author and love his easy style, sense of humour, and vivid imagination. He has a way with words. And Voyage of the Lanternfish certainly didn’t disappoint. We have kidnapping, piracy on the high seas, swashbuckling adventure and mayhem, and unforgettable characters and creatures. By far my favourite from this book are the root monsters with their incredibly expressive ‘I,I,I,I’s’. (Trust me, once you read it, you’ll know what I mean.)

If you’re a fan of magical realism and/or fantasy fiction, you’re sure to love this book. According to my GoodReads record, I read this in 24 hours. It would have been in one sitting if not for life intruding. This book gives you excellent world building and characterisation, along with fast-paced action and a rip-roaring plot line. The story will stay with me for a long time, and this is one of those books I’ll find myself re-reading (and not just because of my poor memory, lol). I cannot recommend Voyage of the Lanternfish highly enough. It gets a solid five stars from me.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MP8V633

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Voyage-Lanternfish-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B07MP8V633

A small selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

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

And on Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

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

Connect to Craig via his website: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

The next book to receive recent reviews is If You Love Me I’m Yours by bestselling author , Lizzie Chantree.

About the book

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

One of the recent reviews for the book

An avid reader I have recently been left discontented by books, even favourites. This one is the first I have enjoyed in weeks.

Maud is not my usual type of heroine as I like reading about confident/bold/funny women and Maud is shy and retiring nevertheless this story was a joy and Dot, Daisy, Nat, even Maud’s overbearing parents and the increasingly repellent Tom are interesting.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/If-You-Love-Me-Yours-ebook/dp/B07C7HRNG1

And read more reviews on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C7HRNG1

Also by Lizzie Chantree

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And find more reviews and follow Lizzie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Connect to Lizzie via her website: https://lizziechantree.com/

The final book today with a recent review is, Cusp of Night ( Hode’s Hill Series) by Mae Clair.

About Cusp of Night

The truth hides in dark places . . .

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 28, 2019 Jacqui rated it Five Stars

In Mae Clair’s Cusp of Night (Lyrical Press 2018), Book 1 in her Hode’s Hill series, Maya Sinclair takes a job doing library research in a town she has never lived in, moving to a home managed by the town’s namesake, Hode Development. What she does know is she loves research, is drawn to the small-town nature of Hode’s Hill, and is eager to see where it all leads. It doesn’t take long to find out that the town is known more than anything for gory killings committed at the turn of the century that involved a fiend and a woman with blue skin–a spiritualist known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill. What Maya doesn’t realize until later is that the Blue Lady not only lived in the house Mae now rents but held her seances there. On the night the town holds what it calls Fiend Fest to celebrate this strange creature, the town’s patriarch, Leland Hode, is attacked and Maya is witness to the assault. Following that, she encounters strange occurrences in her new house that convince her it is haunted. She forces the young leader of Hode Development, Collin Hode, to face the haunting with her–after all, it is his house–and everything takes off from there. As she digs more into the mystery around the Blue Lady and the rumors swirling around her death, whatever happened back in the 1890s seems to transcend time and be part of the present day world around Maya and Hode’s Hill.

Sounds pretty scary? Yes, but not the typical horror story. In fact, I’d call it more of a monster story than horror as Maya faces down a creature who seems as scary as any monster her brain can conjure up and impervious to death. The events come at readers fast with a host of fascinating and multilayered characters well-positioned to people the entire series. As one of Clair’s characters says in the story:

“It’s time to get your ghost on.”

I will definitely be reading more of this series

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cusp-Night-Hodes-Hill-Novel-ebook/dp/B078LJX83X/

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/

Read more reviews and follow Mae on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468716.Mae_Clair

Connect to Mae via her blog: https://maeclair.net/blog/

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

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Mary Adler, Julia Benally, Lizzie Chantree and Audrey Driscoll


Welcome to the second of the author updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Mary Adler for her wartime mystery Shadowed by Death An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2. A young Polish freedom fighter is in danger and Oliver Wright must try to protect her..

About Shadowed by Death

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger.

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.

A recent review for the book

Mary Callahan 5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Put down May 27, 2019

From the start Shadowed By Death grabbed my attention. Having read the first book I was familiar with Oliver Wright. The situation he faces in this book is a bit different from that of the that book. Shadowed by Death deals with a very interesting and barely known part of California history which makes the intrigue more dynamic. Once I got started it was difficult to put the book down. The chapters are short which really kept me moving thinking, “I can read just one more then turn out the light.” But I kept thinking that until the night was half gone and the book finished.

I found that I cared about most of the characters in the story, in particular the females. On the other hand, from first appearance in the story the ‘villain” made me quite uneasy
Really liked the book and am waiting anxiously for number three.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F2V369K

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadowed-Death-Oliver-Wright-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07F2V369K

Also by Mary Adler

Buy both books from Mary’s author page US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Adler/e/B00JAM3VVE/

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7829648.M_A_Adler

Connect to Mary via her website: https://maryadlerwrites.com/

The next author with a recent review is Julia Benally for Pariahs (Ilinga Book I)

About Pariahs (Ilings Book 1)

In a land of monsters and soulless creatures, there is a secluded compound terrorized by a fallen demon-killer, the Grand Apwor. He’s claimed its youngest occupant Vijeren as his son. The Grand Apwor can’t be killed, he can’t be escaped, and his punishments are severe and horrific. Somehow, he knows where Vijeren is at all times. When a law enforcer named Zhin appears like a living flame, a family war that’s been sizzling for decades finally ignites. It drags Vijeren in, revealing secrets of a long-forgotten past and a family torn asunder in recesses of lost memories. Only Zhin knows how to kill the Grand Apwor, but the answer rests on the love between a father and son–something that Vijeren doesn’t have…

One of the recent reviews for the book

Heather Nanni 5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Adventure! April 28, 2019

Julia Benally has built a magical and mysterious world where danger lurks around every corner, under every stairwell and behind every tree. Your heart will race as you read about Vijeren, the young and brave hero, and his epic journey of self discovery…and self preservation. Impressively vast in scope, creative, fast-paced, heartwarming and fun, PARIAHS will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and biting your nails until the end.

 Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JNCYY1W

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pariahs-Ilings-Book-Julia-Benally-ebook/dp/B07JNCYY1W

Julia is also a contributor to a number of anthologies.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Julia-Benally/e/B017C8WCJO

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Julia-Benally/e/B017C8WCJO

Read the reviews and follow Julia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/similar/6950221.Julia_Benally

Connect to Julia via her blog: https://sparrowincarnate.blogspot.com/

The next book to receive recent reviews is If You Love Me I’m Yours by bestselling author of Ninja School Mum, Lizzie Chantree.

About the book

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

One of the recent reviews for the book

For me, IF YOU LOVE ME I AM YOURS Is one book you should not leave at home when packing for your holiday. I took it on mine, and wiled away some lovely ‘me’ time engrossed in it as I relaxed in the sun.

This is a romantic comedy with a story that doesn’t just rely on getting the laughs but has a gripping core that keeps you turning the pages.

Yes, there are many times which make you laugh out loud and that aspect adds to the enjoyment of the unravelling of Maud’s life – her hurt at her parent’s attitude to the person she wants to be, and how she strives for their approval.

Her friendships – woven as all friendships are, with deep loyalty, the feeling that someone has got your back, and that wonderful asset of having people who love and who understand you. And yes, troublesome times when halo’s slip and forgiveness is the only way forward. Dot is one of these. To describe her I wouldn’t know where to start, but this except of just one of Lizzie’s wonderfully crafted and funny descriptions gives you an insight into Dot:

‘Dot wanted to stamp her feet then throw herself on the floor in a tantrum, but her shoes had towering heels with fake sharks’ teeth protruding from every angle and she was worried she could do herself some serious damage, so she tried to grab her emotions and squelch them back down again before they erupted in fury.’

And Daisy – Explicit about her sexual activity and bossy in a good way – she it is who sets Maud off on the path her life should take.

And we become entangled in Maud’s love life – no easy, falling in love and blissful journey for Maud. Her innocence is appealing, and yet, a barrier and leads her to trust the wrong people. You so want her to find happiness and to stick up for herself – does she? I highly recommend that you read IF YOU LOVE ME I’M YOURS – the journey to find out, is funny, witty, moving and gives you an entertaining read.

My rating – A brilliant read and well worthy of five stars.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/If-You-Love-Me-Yours-ebook/dp/B07C7HRNG1

And read more reviews on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C7HRNG1

Also by Lizzie Chantree

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And find more reviews and follow Lizzie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Connect to Lizzie via her website: https://lizziechantree.com/

And finally a recent review for Audrey Driscoll for Islands of the Gulf Volume 2 The Treasure (The Herbert West Series Book 3) Also the book is 50% off until the end of July on Smashwords.. and I will add the link to the others.

About the Book

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

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

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

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

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

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Jul 06, 2019 Lorinda Taylor rated it Five Stars

This book’s genre could be described in more than one way. First of all, it is what I would call a literary paranormal work – literary because it is first and foremost a study of superbly delineated characters who could easily exist in the real world, and paranormal because many occurrences are outside the bounds of reality, giving it elements of science fiction/fantasy. But it could also be classified as gay fiction, since the plot centers around the poignant, tempestuous, and ultimately tragic love affair between Francis Dexter/Herbert West and the artist Julian Vernon.

As always with this author’s books, it is beautifully written, with descriptive passages that are a joy to read. Some of the paranormal passages are particularly memorable. I might cite Dexter’s gripping hallucination involving Richard Bellgarde’s death, the episode with the Tarot reading, and also Dexter’s contact with the shaman/medicine woman. And of course, the events at the end, in Chapter 15, which reminded me of Ursula K. LeGuin’s ”A Wizard of Earthsea,” where Ged pursues his evil self across the sea, only to merge that entity into his own being.

Driscoll has a secret talent – she knows how to structure her stories so there is always more to be told. Thus, the end of “The Treasure” takes us back to the end of “The Friendship of Mortals,” and in v.1 of “Islands of the Gulf” we know that the love affair between Francis and Julian took place, but we don’t know the details of it. And if you read the summaries of the sequels, you find out that they also fill in details that were only hinted at in the earlier books. I suspect Driscoll could keep these stories going for a long time to come, and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned! Strongly recommended (but read the earlier volumes first)

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

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

Buy the book 50% off until the end of July on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/166585

A selection of other books by Audrey Driscoll

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

Amazon.ca:  https://www.amazon.ca/Audrey-Driscoll-Books/

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

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

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm… thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – C.S. Boyack, Lizzie Chantree and Sheila Williams


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week from the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author with  recent review is C.S. Boyack for his latest release Voyage of the Lanternfish.

About Voyage of the Lanternfish

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’ve read several books by C.S. Boyack, and by now, I’ve come to expect wildly inventive world-building, charming characters, and a thrilling adventure. This book definitely didn’t alter those expectations.

Where can I find me some root monsters? I’d love to have a bushel of my own. These guys made me laugh out loud so many times, I lost count. They’re quite the little scoundrels, and a valuable addition to the crew. Speaking of the crew, they’re a diverse, boisterous crowd with varied backgrounds, and kind of a family of their own making. Everyone brings a special skill to the table. And they’re pirates! Who doesn’t love a good pirate tale?

If you’re looking for adventure on the high seas, quirky characters, a hint of magic, and a touch of romance, Voyage of the Lanternfish fits the bill quite nicely.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MP8V633

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Voyage-Lanternfish-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B07MP8V633

A small selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

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

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

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

Connect to Craig via his website: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

The next book to receive recent reviews is If You Love Me I’m Yours by bestselling author of Ninja School Mum, Lizzie Chantree.

About the book

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jayme Carruthers 4.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gems Reviewer March 28, 2019

In If You Love Me, I’m Yours, we meet Maud. She is just your average, if not somewhat boring, teacher’s assistant. There’s nothing really out of the box about her – unless you count the fact that she’s been secretly leaving artwork around town with the tagline “If You Love Me, I’m Yours”. When Dot, an eccentric art agent, starts looking for this secret artist, it leads to a friendship between the two women. Will the two women find what they are looking for?

This was a very cute, lighthearted read. The characters were interesting and fun. It was always exciting to see what would happen next! Watching (Well, reading about) Maud learning to open up and be herself, despite her past, was a great experience and I found myself rooting for her the whole time! Meanwhile, Dot was just a hilarious character and someone I would love to see portrayed in film!

I would definitely recommend this book to a friend!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/If-You-Love-Me-Yours-ebook/dp/B07C7HRNG1

And read more reviews on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C7HRNG1

Also by Lizzie Chantree

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And find more reviews and follow Lizzie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Connect to Lizzie via her websitehttps://lizziechantree.com/

The final author today is Sheila Williams with a recent review for her book The Weave

About the Weave – a fantasy mystery…

A Romany Witch, a French Count and an English author, all entangled in a lie told centuries ago…

Struggling author Richard Pease joins the Nonesuch Club – a writers’ retreat in France – run by the inscrutable Oskar. At the club he starts to write again and he thinks his problems are over. In fact they are just beginning. As he uncovers the secrets in the Club he finds himself trapped in a web of intrigue and deception and has more to worry about than writer’s block… such as escaping with his life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Black Lab 5.0 out of 5 stars A well-woven tale. 22 April 2019

Really enjoyed this fast-moving story of a relationship driven on both sides by a desire for revenge. The reader is taken backwards and forwards in time and to numerous places creating a rich tapestry. No plot spoilers but the ending is a satisfactory final twist.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07KCMQWMY

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KCMQWMY

Also by Sheila Williams

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/sheila-williams/e/B013G9O87C

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Siren-Other-Strange-Tales-Supernatural-ebook/dp/B071Y4214S

Connect to Sheila via her blog: https://writeonthebeach.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm…thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews- Tony Riches, Iain Kelly and Lizzie Chantree


Welcome to the second of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week and the first author with a recent review for his latest historical novel is Tony Riches for Brandon Tudor Night

About Brandon: Tudor Knight

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy:

Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent.

Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell.

Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?

One of the recent reviews for the book

julie renouf 5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading 10 January 2019

Of course as a devotee of all things Tudor,I knew a little of Charles Brandon and his dynasty, so purchased this book as a way of broadening my knowledge. It’s an easy read ,well researched and written, and the author has done his homework on the elusive Brandon. It shows the see sawing Tudor court in all its glory, and how difficult it must have been to walk the line between the ever changing Henry and your own standards. Enjoyed it so will give the author’s other books a read. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brandon-Tudor-Knight-Tony-Riches-ebook/dp/B07L3YGBWJ

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Brandon-Tudor-Knight-Tony-Riches-ebook/dp/B07L3YGBWJ

A selection of other books by Tony Riches

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOXA

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOX

Read more reviews and follow Tony Riches on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5604088.Tony_Riches

Connect to Tony Riches via his website: http://www.tonyriches.com

Now a recent review for the political dystopian thriller,  A Justified State by Iain Kelly

About A Justified State

In the future, The State is ruled by the socially reformist Central Party Alliance. Poverty and homelessness have been eradicated, but overpopulation, an energy crisis and an ongoing overseas war are threatening the stability of the country. When a local politician is assassinated, Detective Danny Samson finds himself thrust into the middle of the investigation.

Still grieving for his dead wife and children, Danny tracks down the assassin, an ex-military sniper called Gabriella, only to discover she may not be the real villain. The secret behind the murder of one politician may bring down the entire ruling Party, and Danny soon learns those in power will go to any lengths to protect The State. Joining forces with Gabriella and the mysterious government agent Phillips, Danny must unearth the truth and bring the guilty to justice, before they catch up with him first.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I liked this inventive political/crime thriller for its pacey narrative. The story is set in a futuristic era, where the State provides prolonged youthfulness, lack of disease, self-driving cars, plenty of synthetic food. Too good to be true ? Through the eyes of the fair, compassionate detective Danny, we experience a gradual reveal of the systemic State insiders’ corruption and cruelty. Beneath the bland, sterile futuristic city -scapes,lies an underbelly of the old city structure, where subversion is alive. Definitely a good read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Justified-State-Iain-Kelly/dp/1729347665

And more reviews on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JYYTL4J

Also by Iain Kelly

Buy both books Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Iain-Kelly/e/B07K327PC2/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Iain-Kelly/e/B07K327PC2

Read more reviews and follow Iain on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16234941.Iain_Kelly

Connect to Iain on his website: https://iainkellywriting.com/

If You Love Me I’m Yours by bestselling author of Ninja School Mum, Lizzie Chantree and here is a recent review for the book.

About the book

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice.

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down.

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

One of the recent reviews for the book

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. There are many story lines to this book – it is as much a “chick lit” book as it is a romance. As a romance, it brings together two people, Maud and Nate, over their love of art. But it is also a book about friendship, across several relationships in the book but largely Maud and Dot. And it is a book about learning to be ok with who you are, whether others, especially family members, accept it or not. Maud and Dot both struggle to fit in with their family members and truly be who they want to be. The romantic part is almost downplayed in that respect. This is a sweet romance, no explicit sex scenes, for those who are looking for that type of book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/If-You-Love-Me-Yours-ebook/dp/B07C7HRNG1

And read more reviews on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C7HRNG1

Also by Lizzie Chantree

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC

And find more reviews and follow Lizzie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Connect to Lizzie via her website https://lizziechantree.com/

Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you are leaving with a book or two to read. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Fifth Day of Christmas with guests D.G. Kaye, Lizzie Chantree and Joy Lennick


Welcome to the fifth day of Christmas, and today my guests are D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies), Lizzie Chantree and Joy Lennick.  We will find out more about their most favourite Christmas memories later.

As I continue to reflect on Christmas Past… I came across some pictures of Saas Fee in Austria the Christmas of 1995, here is a mountain shot that I found on Pixabay which is far better than the ones I took with my old camera. It was to be a memorable festive break for more than one reason… We stayed in a lovely hotel which was family run and the guests were mainly German speaking. There was one other English couple and the management kindly put our two tables close together in the dining-room. We actually got on with them very well and over the course of the 10 days we went on some excursions as a foursome. The other thing that the management did to make our stay more enjoyable was to translate their morning newsletter and guide to the day’s menu from German into English.

These were the days before Google Translate was offering such a useful service and I know that the two pager must have taken considerable time to convert especially as there were only four of us who could not speak German. That is true customer service. However, it unfortunately did lead to some hilarity at the breakfast table despite our best efforts to maintain a stiff British upper lip. There were a number of ‘moments’ including our confusion over the ‘Cancer Butter’ to be served with the salmon at dinner (Crab butter) and the title of the Version Original film to be shown at the local cinema ‘The Hard with a Vengeance’ (Die Hard with a Vengeance).

David was hitting the ski slopes every day whilst I explored the trails around Saas Fee by foot. However, between Christmas and New Year the four of us decided to try out the very long toboggan run from the top of the tree line down into the town. Luckily there was a ski lift up to the top where we collected our individual sleds. I was not very proficient to begin with and the other three were soon on their way as I trailed tentatively behind. The route took two hours normally and by the time I got to the last down hill stretch David and our two companions were gathered enjoying a mulled wine and waiting for my arrival. That last slope was both steep and lengthy and I perched over the lip prepared for a fast ride.

At that moment the three of them turned to face the slope and began waving.. as did most of the other spectators. I was quite chuffed by the attention as they all waved both arms over their heads and shouted encouragement. Taking a deep breath I launched myself off and gathered momentum very quickly…. too quickly and barely keeping the sled under control I hurtled downwards towards the waiting crowd. The end of the run ended in a gradual slope upwards to slow the progress of over eager tobogganers.

It was obvious to those watching that I was not going to be stopping anytime soon and the crowd parted as I rushed through them and I heard what they had been shouting to me on the way down as they waved their arms in the air “Ice, Ice, walk down on the edge – don’t do it. I took off from that ramp like Santa and his sleigh and thankfully landed in a snow drift positioned as a precautionary measure…. As I rose to my feet unharmed I turned to find anxious faces peering over the edge. I was laughing with adrenaline overload and with that everybody began clapping and slapping each other on the back… It was obviously the best entertainment in town….

On a lighter note here is some music to get your feet tapping……Mariah Carey with All I Want for Christmas

Time for my first guest and it is D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies who is not just a wonderful friend and supporter of the blog but also a much valued contributor. In particular the monthly Travel Column which has taken us to warm and exotic locations in the Caribbean and The Lesser Antilles…on cruise ships with all the know-how necessary to get the best value and enjoyment from our holiday. Recently Debby has been keeping an eye open for funnies to enhance the Laughter lines including this recent post

Debby shares her very poignant best Christmas Gift ever.. the first year that she was married.

My best Christmas gift was marrying my husband in October 1999. One week after our marriage I became almost fatally ill and spent the first few months of marriage in and out of hospital. The steroids I was put on made me gain a bunch of weight and my face wasn’t spared with the often talked about ‘moonface’ many experience on that drug. I was sick, depressed and couldn’t stand looking in a mirror. My husband caught me secretly crying in the bathroom and asked me what was the matter. I tried to explain how I felt through my fit of tears and here was his response: “I love you to the moon and back. You will always be beautiful to me and that’s all that counts.” If I hadn’t already known I married a prince, I knew in that moment.

My Christmas gift to Debby is a reminder of something I know she is very much looking forward to, especially as Toronto is cold and wet at the moment… her month’s trip to Puerto Vallarta in the New Year… Not long now Debby.

Courtesy of DD Food & Travel

Read the reviews and buy D.G. Kaye’s books: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Connect to Debby on her blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com

A recent review for Words We Carry Very insightful read. on September 16, 2018

Once in a while you come across a book that really speaks to you. Reading ‘Words We Carry’ by D. G. Kaye was like having friends over for coffee and revealing our innermost secrets or speaking to your mentor about life and how to make it better. The author, who has natural psychology opened my eyes and made me ponder why I react the way I do to certain things or certain people. I enjoyed author, D.G. Kaye’s writing style––so friendly and warm. This book is well written and is easily one that can change someone’s life. I recommend this book to anyone who ever felt insecure, self-conscious or inadequate. An easy 5 star read.

Traditionally on Day five of the Twelve Days of Christmas (29th December), the life and death of St Thomas Becket was remembered. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was murdered after questioning the ethics of the then King Henry II and his interference with the Church. Unusually St. Thomas Becket is saint and martyr revered by both the Catholic and the Anglican faiths.

Five Gold rings would be welcomed by everyone but over the years there have been various theories on the interpretation of this particular gift. One theory is that all the verses refer to birds in one way or another that were eaten in the 18th century – Partridge, Turtle Doves French Hens, Colley Birds, and the five rings referring to gold ringed pheasants, Geese, swans but then we hit the maids so some work needed on this hypothesis! I would say that it was more about how the lyrics fitted the song and in all the versions that were illustrated it was clearly in the form of actual gold rings.

Time to meet my second guest today and that is award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, who started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Lizzie shares her most treasured Christmas gift ever…

On Christmas day, the scent of pine needles and mulled wine are usually enough to bring a smile to my face, but I’ll always remember my children dipping their heads under the tree and giggling in excitement, at giving me what has turned out to be my favourite gift. As I opened the wrapping paper their faces peeped up at me through tissue paper and I turned page after page of photographs of family memories that they had spent hours and hours collecting, and presenting in a photo album, for me. It’s a gift that I will always cherish.

As I would Lizzie… lovely…..

As Lizzie is an award winning inventor, my Christmas gift to her is to virtually try out some of the lastest inventions for work and leisure.. my personal favourite the Orange Screw….courtesy of Quantum Tech HD

You can buy Lizzie Chantree’s books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lizzie-Chantree/e/B00FF99DHC
And connect to her on her website: https://lizziechantree.com/

One of the recent reviews for If You Love Me I’m Yours

The author obviously has a love for, and knowledge of art in all its forms …and human nature as well. Clever the way she shows the influence of parents on their offspring, who either try to live up to expectations or deny their true selves to fit in. I felt for repressed artistic Maud, who was impelled to express her talent anonymously and leave her works of art to be picked up by anyone who wanted to give them a home. ( I also loved the brilliant descriptions of her amazing bedroom and her hidden ‘shed’. ) And then poor Dot, who only truly found her talent when she found Maud. The interweaving plot carries you along, willing and hoping for a happy ending for all these engaging characters. Another different story from Lizzie Chantree. It’s as funny and compulsive as her Ninja School Mum. More please.

Since we were in Austria for Christmas that year, it is appropriate that we look at some of their Christmas traditions. According to  Why Christmas Austria shares many Christmas traditions with its neighbor Germany, but also has many special Christmas customs of its own. This includes an Advent Wreath made from evergree twigs, with ribbons and four candles for each of the four Sundays in Advent.. when a candle is lit you might hear carols being sung.

Austria and Germany are well known for their Christmas markets with visitors from all over Europe arriving to enjoy the decorations, food and Glühwein (sweet, warm mulled wine).

There will be a large Christmas Tree in the town squares and at home most trees are decorated in gold and silver with straw stars. As in some other European countries December 6th is also celebrated in some homes for Saint Nicholas and children might be lucky to get an extra gift. Otherwise they will have to wait until 4pm on Christmas Eve for the festivities to begin.

The main Christmas Eve meal is Fried Carp for those who are Catholic and observe the day as a Fast, and for others it might be roast goose or turkey which is becoming more popular. Dessert might be the famous Austrian Sachertorte.

As Stille Nacht (Silent Night) was written in Austria in 1818.. here is a wonderful version by the Dresden Choir. Courtesy of Brent Postlethwaite

One of the accompaniments for our traditional Christmas dinner is bread sauce and here is the recipe taken from last week’s full Christmas menu by Carol Taylor

Bread Sauce

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use (I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…

Ingredients:

About half loaf of good quality stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.
• I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
• 2 bay leaves.
• Salt & Pepper.
• About half pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

And for my final guest today, the lovely poet and author Joy Lennick who is enjoying retirement in sunny Spain, but she is not spending all day at the beach as she supports her fellow authors and continues to publish books and blog posts.

Here is Joy in her own words….

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…including a humour filled book called The Moon is Wearing a Tutu…

And here is Joy’s most precious Christmas gift ever….

Was it the ‘Coronation coach’ filled with iced gems in 1938? Or that ‘war-Christmas’ when we toboganned down an iced hill in Wales……Or appearing in “Mother Goose” at the Theatre Royal? And, one year, I had a new brother like an animated doll. A yuletide party in 1957, singing carols in a beautiful house in Toronto, Canada was special too. But the winner was the Christmas gift of 1959. Having returned to the UK, my doctor said those two magical words:: ‘You’re pregnant!’. Having dreamed of this for six years, it was the best Christmas present EVER.

It is tough to follow that precious a Christmas gift, and it took me some time to find the perfect Christmas present for Joy..

I worked in a hotel in the Snowdonia National Park, at Bontddu on the Mawddach  Estuary and love it.  There is now a coastal path along the entire length of the Welsh coastline and I thought Joy might like a virtual tour.

Discover Joy’s books read the reviews and buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/
Connect to Joy via her blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

A Snowball is a cocktail made with advocaat and lemonade in equal quantities with a dash of lime juice to cut some of the sweetness.

Advocaat comes from Holland and is made from eggs, sugar and brandy. It looks and tastes like a very luxurious custard and is similar to eggnog but whereas you can enjoy a non-alcoholic eggnog a snowball is not for all the family…..There are a number of variations using egg yolks, aromatic spirits, honey, brandy and sometimes cream. The best commercial brands on the market are Bols and DeKuyper.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting my guests, the music, food and of course a snowball or two.. thanks for dropping in and please let us know what your most favourite Christmas Gift of all time is. thanks Sally