Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews -Mary Smith, John W. Howell and Darlene Foster


Welcome to Thursday’s post where you can showcase your recent reviews and the first author today is Mary Smith with a new review for Donkey Boy and Other Stories. I have reviewed and can recommend.

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.

The most recent review for the collection.

 
Terry Tyler TOP 1000 REVIEWER Short Story Collection Worth Reading 7 October 2017

How I discovered this book: It was submitted to Rosie Amber’s Review Team, of which I am a member. Two years ago I read No More Mulberries by this author, which I liked a lot.

This is an interesting and diverse collection of stories, set in several locations, from Scotland to Pakistan, where the author lived for a while. Some of them were written as monologues, which have been performed.

I liked those set in Pakistan best, my very favourite being Accidents Happen, about a girl whose mother marries a man she hates. I liked it so much I read it again, straight away. I also liked Donkey Boy itself, about a little boy who has to work for his father instead of going to school, and Trouble with Socks, about the sort of ghastly, patronising auxiliary in a care home who thinks that physically disabled means mentally deficient. The last one, a longer story called The Thing In Your Eye, was interesting. A woman believes she sees evil in people in their eyes; this left me a little unsure, as I didn’t know if we were meant to think it was all in her mind (as everyone else does), or if she really could ‘read’ people.

They’re all unusual, with a theme of private sadness. I liked a very short one called My Name is Anya, too, about an Afghani girl adopted by Scottish parents. They’re ideal for a nice bit of lying on the sofa, afternoon reading when you’re not in the mood for complicated plots.

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

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

Also by Mary Smith

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

The next author with a recent review is John W. Howell for the first of the John Cannon books, My GRL. If you are considering reading John’s books I suggest that you start with My GRL and get to know his hero.

About My GRL

John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

John Cannon is taking a year off from his law practice for a little leisure time to a coastal town in Texas. He leases himself a cozy home, buys a reliable car and a dream boat, he names My GRL.

The story unfolds with John going for a celebration drink with his new friend Gerry who hooked him up with the people he bought his boat from, and the action begins. And soon, John’s plans for rest and relaxation turn into nightmares on what becomes a cat and mouse chase that we experience through John’s perspective in this unusual but intriguing story told in first person accounting. This allows us to get right into Cannon’s mind and follow his thoughts, fears, intermittent humor, and finally his plans for his mission to survive as he and his ‘GRL’ are used as pawns and instruments in an international terrorist plot.

The story is full of action, deceit, and will keep you wondering who are the bad guys from the good till the end. Great action thriller and I look forward to reading the other books in this John Cannon series.

Read the reviews and buy My GRL: https://www.amazon.com/My-GRL-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B06VY4V2FC

And on Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-GRL-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B06VY4V2FC

Also by John W. Howell.

Read all the reviews and buy all of the books : https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John via his website: http://www.johnhowell.com

Now time to revisit the recent release by Darlene Foster in the Amanda adventure travel series. We catch up with Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

A recent review for Amanda in New Mexico

This is the latest installment in a series about a 6th grade girl who is lucky enough to travel, this time with many in her class on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico. They are all students who are artistic, write blogs, take photographs or express themselves in other ways that they are producing each evening after their sightseeing. Taos is a place I have visited and enjoyed so I find it exciting to see it used for the setting of a young adult novel. I also read mysteries when I was young and enjoyed the opportunity to see what is being produced today in this area,and with that hint of the paranormal.

Amanda’s character seems likable to me, smart, but not off-putting. She is also friendly and able and willing to be friends with an outsider. She is adventuresome but also loves learning. I enjoyed the way the author sprinkled the elements of education carefully throughout this novel, providing information on Taos Pueblo and the people who live there. There are also tidbits on cowboys who populated the Southwest and their culture as well as elements of the lives of the many current residents.

Were there ghosts in the Taos area? Did Amanda or her friend Cleo actually see or experience one or more? Well that’s a difficult question to answer. This story combines a good young adult adventure story with hints of the paranormal while also providing some well placed educational material lightly in the text and great ideas for other young people to aspire to.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209

Also by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her website:https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and you are welcome to submit a link for your most recent review to be shared. Thanks Sally
 

 

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Jane Dougherty, Mary Smith and Lucy Brazier


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update and the first author with an update is Jane Dougherty with her short story collection – The Spring Dance and other stories

About The Spring Dance

Magic, mystery, mirth and murder fill these tales that are fresh as daisies and old as the hills.

Foxes and firebirds, deer and dancers, trolls and travellers, and lots of princesses tell their stories to entertain you as the nights draw in, the fire crackles in the grate, and the wolves howl in the forest.

Buy the new collection: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0764BPF53

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0764BPF53

A selection of books also by Jane Dougherty

The most recent review for the first book in the Pathfinder Series – Abomination.

‘Abomination’ is the first book in ‘The Pathfinders’ series by Jane Dougherty. I will start off by saying that I immensely enjoyed this apocalyptic novel. It was dark, gritty, and raw and had me completely pulled into the story. ‘Abomination’ is a fantastic read which is very well written and the story (even though apocalyptic /post-apocalyptic has been done before), is very original and engrossing.

One of the first things I noticed, was seeing parallel elements from ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding, and I feel has elements in common with ‘The Walking Dead’ also. As I’ve mentioned above, it’s simply a very dark and brutal book. I would not hesitate to recommend it to young adults, as that is that is also the intended audience. There is strong language throughout the book, so those who are very sensitive, should be forewarned.

The story starts off quite harmlessly, but things go down the drain very quickly for Carla and Tully, as they are hurtled through a wormhole five years into the future just as the end of the world is beginning. Unfortunately, this just takes them out of the frying pan and into the fire. There they must battle against blood-thirsty youngsters, gangs, mutated animals and against other characters which I will only describe here as supernatural or demonic (i.e. the Burnt Man).

It is a story of adapting oneself to a new environment and dire situations while still trying to hold onto one’s values and to rise above the despondency and cut-throat ways of the gangs who have had to live through five years of hell and destruction. Just as in ‘Lord of the Flies’, any semblance of society has fallen apart and the youngsters are not concerned with growing food or following rules (except their own twisted law), but are only interested in fighting and with attaining/holding onto power.

‘Abomination’, isn’t just about the struggle of humans against nature and other humans, but is a struggle against mutated animals and supernatural forces which wish to destroy the world. These elements, due to spoilers, will not be talked about in this review, but needless to say, ‘Abomination’ is an action-packed supernatural thriller which borders on horror.

What makes this story believable, are the actions of the characters in the book. The characters act in a very believable and natural way, which pulls us in as the reader and makes us feel for these characters. Furthermore, the author’s writing style is easy to read and her descriptions pull the reader in and fully immerse them in this experience.

The book ends with a very good cliffhanger which just makes me want to pick up the second book, ‘Devastation’, in order to continue the journey with Carla and Tully.

‘Abomination’ is an action-packed apocalyptic novel which borders on horror. Due to its original take on the end of times, and for the superb writing style of Jane Dougherty, I highly recommend this book to others who enjoy supernatural thrillers. I would absolutely love to see this book get a movie deal or even better, a Netflix series, as I believe the story would find a huge fan-base across wide audiences. Happy reading!

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U

Read more reviews and follow Jane on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6953978.Jane_Dougherty

Connect to Jane via her website: https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

The next author with another review for her recent short story, Donkey Boy and other Stories is Mary Smith. This is my review for the book which I recommend.

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.

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/

Also by Mary Smith

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

The last update today is for the second book by Lucy Brazier, A Portergirl Novel – The Vanishing Lord which was released in June.

About the book

There’s nothing quite so annoying as having the police arrive when you are trying to cover up a crime that may or may not have happened.

Lord Bernard has died unexpectedly. Is Deputy Head Porter being framed? Head Porter just wants to be kept out of the picture.

In this fast-paced whimsical British romp, a priceless work of art – the portrait of Old College founding father Lord Arthur Layton – has gone missing and with the death of Lord Bernard, the Master of arch rivals Hawkins College, there is nothing for it but for our heroine to don her trusty bowler hat and embark upon another eccentric investigation.

In this sequel to the debut PorterGirl novel, First Lady of The Keys, Old College’s first and only female Porter must find the portrait or it will be her that is flat on the canvas and framed like a kipper.

Tenacious detectives, ill-advised disguises, saucy medieval literature and Russian spies conspire to confuse matters further in this entertaining escapade.

The most recent review for the book

The second in Lucy Brazier’s Portergirl series is another hilarious, yet extremely witty and intelligent mystery story set in Cambridge College.

The female Deputy Head Porter springs into action when the portait of Lord Layton mysteryiously disappears. Asked for discretion in her investigation this is far from easy and straight forward.

Academic politics, personal conflicts and saving face come into play as well as the secret investigation takes place.

The book’s main strengths are the quirky and often excentric characters and of course, the formiddable and eloquent use of language. Yet, the story is just as entertaining, there’s plenty of well timed, well paced and well plotted situational comedy, somewhere between farcial and satirical with excellent observational skills.

The depiction of the college structure is very poignant- I assume it is probably largely based in truth but mixed for effect with warm humour and charm.

Brazier’s humour never bites, so you can find yourself caring for even the annoying characters.
 

Read all the reviews and buy the book Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/PorterGirl-Vanishing-Lord-Lucy-Brazier-ebook/dp/B07125GB2H

Also by Lucy Brazier

Read other reviews and find out more about Lucy Brazier by following her on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14129066.Lucy_Brazier

Connect to Lucy via her website: https://portergirl.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news about Jane, Mary and Lucy. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Jack Eason, Mary Smith and Pamela Schloesser Canepa


The first author today with a recent review is Jack Eason for his historical novella 1066, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed.

About 1066

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

One of the recent reviews

As a Fleming, I knew that my knowledge of Britain’s entry into the Middle Ages was sketchy before I started reading Jack Eason’s Autumn 1066, but, after having read his novella, I must admit that it was also based on clichés and vague concepts. Autumn 1066 remedied this thoroughly. Eason has the gift of condensing and presenting historical facts in such a way that, although manifold and thoroughly researched, they hinder in no way the suspense of his war-story. Eason paints a clear portrait of the growing tensions between various factions competing for the throne, and the leaders of various armies, but also of the common soldiers, ordinary men who were forced to fight the wars of the nobility.

For his vivid, and shocking, description of the battlefields, Eason focuses on two such ordinary warriors, Aldred and Cynric. When he describes the man-to-man fights and the deadly swarms of arrows, the reader can actually feel the fear and the agony of the warriors. In spite of the extensive historical background, Eason’s cast of characters, high and low, doesn’t degrade into stereotypes. They remain people like you and me, tackling life as best as they can when they are poor, and victims of greed and the overwhelming desire for power when they are rich. Writing historical fiction is all about keeping equilibrium between a passionate story and historical facts. Jack Eason has done that remarkably well.

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

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1546685308

A selection of books by Jack Eason

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

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

Connect to Jack Eason via his bloghttps://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/

Delighted to see that although only published a few days ago… Donkey Boy & Other Stories by Mary Smith is already receiving wonderful reviews. I am just about to start reading and having loved No More Mulberries, I am really looking forward to doing so.

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.

One of the early reviews

With under 80 pages, Donkey Boy and Other Stories can fit into any reader’s busy life.

What a little gem this book is. There’s a super variety of stories packed with atmospheric and entertaining writing containing both pathos and humour. Mary Smith manages to convey clear and distinct voices for each of her brilliant characters, from a Pakistani boy to an elderly Scottish woman. What I liked so much about every one of them is at I felt I knew them instantly and understood them completely but without the author imposing her own judgement on them as they make their way through life.

I loved the unifying themes across each of the stories too. Whilst each story has its own unique identity, Mary Smith explores themes that encroach into all our lives, from poverty in third world countries, through domestic abuse to mental health, grief, fear, love and disability. She does so with skill and finesse, never preaching, but conveying a wonderful sense of humanity for the misrepresented, lost and lonely and for those living unconventionally or outside social norms. I enjoyed every single tale, but especially the last in the book, The Thing in Your Eye, with its slightly supernatural undercurrent as Molly sees ‘Nasties’ in strangers’ eyes. The opening story, Donkey Boy, set in Pakistan also made me think about my own behaviour as I shall be travelling to India next year and will obviously be tipping those I come into contact with.

I really appreciated Mary Smiths wonderful craft in creating a sense of place, time and person so that although these are brief stories, each has a completeness and there’s real satisfaction in reading them.

I found Donkey Boy and Other Stories a moving, engaging and beautifully written collection that has the ability to touch the reader, make them thankful for their own life and to make them think. I’m delighted to have read it.

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

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

Also by Mary Smith

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

The final author today with recent reviews for her book is Pamela Schloesser Canepa and Detours in Time.

About Detours in Time

On a whim, feisty Tabitha takes a trip to the future with her trusted friend Milt, an awkward Science professor. Wonders and curiosities abound. However, their amusing journey soon becomes a challenging maze of difficult decisions. When an unplanned detour occurs, the two set events into action that may save one life and yet destroy another. Can these friends of completely different mindsets agree on a course of action? Amid the backdrop of a future that reveals great wonders and horrors, Detours in Time starts as a fantastic escape and grows to present many moral dilemmas and surprises that can either destroy the strongest friendship or bring two people closer.

One of the recent reviews.

Detours in Time features time traveling duo Milt and Pinky, as they visit a dystopian 2047, in which the USA has undergone a second civil war and divided into two countries. I find it a reasonable speculation that the country is headed in that direction as our politics become increasingly polarized.

Of course, anyone with a time machine will try to fix things with the best of intentions. But, we all know that “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.

Canapa paints vivid pictures of the various time periods Milt and Pinky visit, and deeply develops the relationship between the two. The story is light hearted, fun, and easy to follow for readers of all ages.

Imagine Doctor Who without the darkness, angst, incomprehensible references, and constant rotation of players. Detours in Time is a fine start to a new, imaginative series. I can’t wait for the next installment.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Detours-Time-Pamela-Schloesser-Canepa/dp/1521461295

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Detours-Time-Pamela-Schloesser-Canepa/dp/152146129

Also by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Pamela-Schloesser-Canepa/e/B01E0KV716

Read other reviews and follow Pamela on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15166012.Pamela_Schloesser_Canepa

Connect to Pamela via her website: http://pamscanepa1.allauthor.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will enjoy the selection of books.

Please Note.…I will be starting the Christmas book promotions for authors in the bookstore starting in the middle of November. Over the next few weeks I will be checking each author to make sure that I have all new releases and up to date reviews, but if you have new books coming out in time for Christmas can you contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com as soon as you have a release date. I will then include in the Cafe updates and also make a point of featuring in the Christmas promotions.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – D.Wallace Peach, Mary Smith and Victoria Zigler


Welcome to the first Cafe and Bookstore Update of the week and two new releases and news of an audio book.  The first author with exciting news is D.Wallace Peach with the release of her first children’s book, Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters. Not only written by Diana but illustrated by her too. An amazing amount of work but as you will see from the cover it is fantastic. Available in print only in US, UK and Canada.

About the book

Grumpy Ana Goblyn is sour, dour, and cranky. Her lips droop in a frown. She’s bored with every place and person in her friendly town. With the help of her father, she builds a spaceship and travels to a soggy planet where she meets her perfect monster playmates. But there’s a problem! The monsters see her grouchy frown and think she’s a monster. In this children’s space adventure, Ana discovers that her attitude affects her happiness, and she can change it if she chooses.

Available in print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1975723945

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1975723945

A selection of other books by D. Wallace Peach

One of the most recent reviews for Farlander’s Law, Book Three in the Rose Shield Series.

I truly believe this series will become one of the classics of Fantasy. It’s that good. Reading the book description for this book, Farlanders Law, seems confusing, but only if you haven’t read the two books before it. There is no confusion for the reader in these books – they grab you and don’t let go. Amazingly, this is done not in just a thriller sort of fashion (although there is a lot of that) but also in so many other ways – these books hit all the high points of wonderful fantasy reading and make them ring like a bell with high clear notes, over and over again. And the momentum continues on without a break into Kari’s Reckoning. Thank you D Wallace Peach for this wonderful Tetralogy.

To discover all the books and read the reviews and buy: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Connect to D. Wallace Peach via her website: http://mythsofthemirror.com.

Another new release is the short story collection, Donkey Boy & Other Stories by Mary Smith. 

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.

Buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075VC1XNX

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

Also by Mary Smith

A recent review for No More Mulberries

I have to be honest; this has been on my TBR pile for ages and I’m sorry but it was the cover that put me off; I wasn’t sure I liked it. And I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even read the blurb; the book was recommended to me by a friend so I just bought it.

I should have listened to her; this is a brilliant read. Different from my usual preference but the writing style of Mary Smith is wonderfully paced; flows so well, and she tells a great story. Not only that, the reader (me!) learned a lot about Afghanistan some twenty years ago, about the culture, the society, the politics and the people. Because the author has first hand knowledge of all these; she lived and worked in the country.

It’s fictional but comes alive through the portrayal of the characters and the way they behave: the Western doctors, the people who live in the rural villages, the children. But none more so than Miriam and her husband. Miriam is in a strange country and place, in a second marriage (having been widowed) and her poignant memories of her first husband mingle with the loyalty to her present husband, Iqbal.

This is such an emotional read: of love, allegiances, losses, secrets and, I think, emancipation.

The dialogue, both internal and spoken is excellent, fits the characters well. I could feel great frustration for Miriam though her words and thoughts.
And the descriptions of the setting of the book; the larger picture of Afghanistan and the smaller, more intimate scenes of everyday existence bring the whole book to life.

For me No More Mulberries is an unusual and interesting story and I have no hesitation in recommending Mary Smith’s evocative book to any reader.

Oh, and by the way, I decided I really do like the cover!

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

Next an announcement by Victoria Zigler about the availability of all her books in audio. Victoria is blind and for the millions of readers around the world who are sight impaired, audio books are vitally important..Previously only available as eBooks and paperbacks, all five books in Victoria Zigler’s “Toby’s Tales” series are now available in audio, read by the very talented Joseph A. Batzel.

Regardless of the format you’d prefer, if you’d like to grab copies so you can learn about the fears and frustrations Toby struggles with as a blind person.,

One of the reviews for Toby’s New World

Aug 09, 2015 Gita Reddy rated it Five Stars

Toby’s old world, the one in which he could see, is gone. He has glaucoma, the kind which cannot be treated, and will remain blind. His mother tells him he will be okay, his father tells him he will be okay but Toby is upset and angry. How can things be okay when he is not able to eat without covering himself and his stuffed bear with food? How can things be okay when he cannot find his clothes or his toothbrush? How can things be okay when his brother and sister laugh at him blundering about?

Toby’s New World is a very short book but gets to the root of a difficult subject: how do parents and children handle a situation wherein illness changes a child’s world. Do they smother him with love? Protect him? Challenge him? The answer is amazingly simple.

This story touched my heart. I recommend it to parents and children alike.

You can find Toby’s New World in audio with links to Victoria’s other books at Audible: http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Tobys-New-World-Audiobook/B074P7FV1M/

You can also download all the audio books from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6

If you have an Epub reader: Victoria Zigler Kobo

A small selection of other books by Victoria Zigler

Victoria has a great many reviews on Goodreads and I suggest that you head there first to read: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5852247.Victoria_Zigler

Connect to Victoria via her website: http://www.zigler.co.uk/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have news to share about your books in the Cafe and Bookstore, please drop me a note. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – One last fling with Fantastic Writers, Music and more FREE books from Susan Toy.


For some of you it is the last bank holiday of the summer and this is the last post in this three day festival. Yesterday my guests included D.G. Kaye, Tina Frisco, Janice Spina, Marjorie Mallon, Teagan Geneviene, The Story Reading Ape, Ali Isaac,Tess Karlinski and Brigid Gallagher.

Here is the link to the previous two days of posts

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/smorgasbord-end-of-summer-party-music-dancing-headliners-and-you-and-free-books/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/smorgasbord-end-of-summer-party-day-two-three-musketeers-the-a-team-and-free-book/

And I filmed the proceedings yesterday and lovely to see so many up there on the dance floor.. thanks Nerd Fest UK for their speedy editing services

To start off us today is a request from Judith Barrow for a track from The Travelling Wilbury’s from their official Youtube channel… Judith has been a wonderful friend and motivator for both my blog and books and as the organiser of the  Narbeth Book Festival she is taking that support to a new level. https://judithbarrowblog.com/category/narberth-book-fair-2017/

Head off and check out all of Judith’s fantastic books and reviews here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Time to get up and tap your feet to this catchy number from the Traveling Wilburys

Buy The Travelling Wilbury’s Music: https://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Wilburys-Collection-DVD-Combo/dp/B01E7FLJ44

I have more headliners for you today, but first a reminder of the FREE book offer and how you can mingle in the comments section with other guests.

My novel Just an Odd Job Girl is available in eBook – Mobi for Kindle and epub for all other devices. You just have to email and tell me which version – sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

I would love you to participate and if you have not already taken this short quiz and left your answers and links in the comments then now is your chance.

My experience with most of you reading this, is that you are very modest, and have trouble blowing your own trumpet. So to help you with that, here is a short quiz with one word answers to put in the comments alongside your links. The answers I receive may be used against you in the posts on Monday

QUIZ

  • Which is your favourite recording artist or band
  • Pizza or Pasta
  • Favourite Film
  • Person you would most like to meet Dead or Alive.

Then please leave your blog or website, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter Links.

Here is the link to yesterday’s party post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/smorgasbord-end-of-summer-party-music-dancing-headliners-and-you-and-free-books/

Recently I have been delighted to welcome two new lifestyle guest writers.

Carol Taylor is my co-conspirator on this project. Most of you are familiar with my Medicine Woman’s larder and Carol and I have teamed up to provide you with recipes to make the most of these amazing foods. I am providing the ingredients and sharing their nutritional and medicinal properties and Carol is taking them to a whole new level with her delicious recipes.

Carol began this party wearing her dancing shoes and wanted to share them with us.

Carol lives in Thailand and enjoys sharing authentic Thai recipes made with the wonderfully fresh local ingredients she sources in the markets.  You can find these and so much more on her blog: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/ and you can connect on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealCarolT

You can find our posts in the new series – Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-recipes/

Carol has requested something by Sir Rod Stewart and I have selected something from my misspent youth when we pranced around to this thinking we were the bees knees. Buy Sir Rod’s music:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rod-Stewart/e/B000AP7XKA

I expect after dancing around to Sir Rod  that you might be a little peckish so it is just as well that Carol has sent over some of her delicious party food.

And after dancing since yesterday, Carol has now changed into some more comfortable shoes and is hitting the margeritas….

Before we meet Julie Lawford it is time for some more music and this was requested by Jennie Fitzkee who loves The Beatles.

Jenny has a wonderful blog where she shares stories of her 30 years as a preschool teacher. I do recommend that you head over and read her posts because you too will come away with a renewed love of books and readings. Something that she has instilled in these young pupils who adore her. Here is the link to her latest post: https://jenniefitzkee.com/2017/08/25/rekindling-american-pride/

I have chosen this Beatles track for Jennie today which happens to be one of my favourites.

Now it is time to meet Julie Lawford who has been contributing some great posts on weight loss and lifestyle for the summer.

Julie and I met at the Blogger’s Bash in June and we discovered a connection through our weight loss journeys and our love of a healthier lifestyle.. I asked for access to your archives and have been sharing her very informative and helpful posts for the last few weeks.

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Read the reviews and buy the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

You can find all of Julie’s posts here on Smorgasbord in this file: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/guest-writer-julie-lawford-health-and-weightloss/

There has been some amazing food contributed to the party and I have to share this dish in particular that Noelle Granger has provided. It is one of those dishes that is always one of the most expensive on the menus in the UK and Ireland but it is the most delicious. Just look at this Lobster Thermidor.. Noelle has been most generous with the portions so forks at the ready.

Noelle is another author of the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series and she has been a treasured participant in the last four years of blogging. I was delighted to meet her in person for a huge hug (several actually) at the Blogger’s Bash along with her delightful husband.

You can read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/N.A.-Granger/e/B00DN6I8GQ

Time for some music and some dancing to work off the Lobster before dessert.

Mary Smith have been connected here since the beginning but we only met face to face a the Blogger’s Bash in June.. and she was everything that I expected and it was lovely to meet her face to face.

Here are her books and the link to check them out and buy of course: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Mary has requested something by Queen and I hope she likes the track I have selected. Should be an Indie author’s anthem…Buy Queen’s music: https://www.amazon.com/Queen/e/B000AQ0748

Most of you will know Susan Toy and how must time and effort she puts into her promotion of authors and I am very lucky to have featured several times in her Reading Recommendations. https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/reading-recommendations/

Susan has written some wonderful books that I have read and reviewed and she has brought a very special dessert to the party and an offer for three lucky readers to win a copy of one of her books.

You can check the Bequia books out on Amazon; https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Toy/e/B008WXIJ46


A Bequia Lime Pie, and I hope it helps you to further celebrate this great Smorgasbord End of Summer Party you’ve been hosting all weekend, Sally!

I have felt so privileged to have been promoted many times on this blog, and have in turn hosted Sally Cronin and her books on my own blog, Reading Recommendations, where she is one of my All-Star Authors!

Aside from providing the pie (Keep your fork, Prince! – an old Western Canadian joke …), I am also offering a giveaway of all three of my publications (in mobi, ePub or PDF editions).

To enter, all you need do is head over to my blog https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/ where I will have reblogged this very post of Sally’s, and comment there, telling me which book you would like to read.

And here is Susan’s music choice which is appropriate for most of us here today. Paperback Writer.

Buy The Beatles Music: https://www.amazon.com/The-Beatles/e/B000APTK6K

I will select three lucky winners from those comments – one for each title on September 1st.

 

I will never in this world be able to feature all those that kept me motivated those first few months of blogging but here are one or two more that I would like to say a special thank you to.

Olga Núñez Miret Author/Translator Autora/Traductora began following me in May 2014 and has been a source of wonderful information, book reviews and is now working with me as she translates my book Tales from the Garden into Spanish.

Olga trained in Medicine in Barcelona, Spain, and came to the UK in 1992 (shortly after the Olympics) with the plan of training in psychiatry. She spent quite a few years working in psychiatry (most recently forensic psychiatry), but on the way she studied a few other things (American Literature, Criminology). Early in 2014 she left psychiatry as a full time occupation to explore other avenues, carry on writing and also translate other authors’ books.

In her blog she post about things that interest jer, random thoughts, advice, book reviews, with guests, both alive and classics…http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Olga is a prolific author with most of her books available in both English and Spanish and with several in audio.

Here is a selection and you can find all the books, read the reviews and buy t: http://amzn.to/XLnZTo

Olga has two of her books as FREE downloads and you will find the links to download: http://www.authortranslatorolga.com/free-book/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And another that I would like to mention is the lovely Kim Gosselin who has been absent from blogging for a couple of months but who was hugely supportive from the early days onwards.

Kim Gosselin is the oldest of five children, born and raised in the small town of Bay City, Michigan, near the murky blue waters of a bay. She fell in love with reading as a young girl, spending hours in a historic three story library painted in cream.

A multi-award winning author, Kim has written 17 children’s books including Babies of Two, the first in a series for children, mothers and families to share. She is a member of The Author’s Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Find out more at Kim’s Blog: http://kimgosselin.com/

Here is a small selection of Kim’s books which you can find at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Kim-Gosselin/e/B001K7ZJXA

Someone who sends Angel messages and inspiring Haikus our way on a daily basis is Annette Rochelle Aben who has the most infectious smile I have ever seen. Annette pays daily visits to many of us and generously shares on her social media and also by interviewing authors on her radio podcast The Magic Happens.

Most of my life, like since I have been old enough to hold a writing implement, I have loved writing. Other than school assignments, I chose poetry as my favorite way of expressing myself.

A selection of Annette’s books that you can find at: http://www.amazon.com/author/annetterochelleaben

Fast forward to and through my adulthood, I have done a lot of writing for work in radio, television and newspapers. In addition to writing, I am completely in love with Angels, cooking, making jewelry, photography, cats, listening to music and laughing! Perhaps we have something in common, if so, leave me a comment and let’s connect.
With Love & Gratitude : https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/muse/

I could go on and on featuring the wonderful bloggers who have extended the hand of friendship over the last four years but there is simply not enough time.. And you can bet that I would have missed out one or two of your names in this world…

And time for some music – Annette and Steve Costello both mentioned that they enjoyed Dire Straits so I have selected this track that I hope they and you will enjoy..Details of Steve’s book after the music.

Sultans of Swing: https://www.amazon.com/Sultans-Swing-Very-Best-Straits/dp/B00000DGU

Steve Costello is the author of the recently published Beyond the Pyre:

About the book

When Catharine and Ben go to their French home in Carcassonne, they meet a woman who looks just like Catharine, with whom she shares an instant affinity. Catharine’s spirit guide, Michael, connects her to ancient Carcassonne and the spirit of Elionor, whose thirteenth-century life entwines with Catharine’s modern one.

Ben is concerned, but a journey of his own leads him to realise that not only Elionor’s and Catharine’s lives are interlinked, but his own and those of a whole group of people they know in the present world.

A terrifying encounter with two false friends from the past – centuries past – and meetings with their age-old selves pull Ben and Catharine into the ancient crusades against the Cathar faith, to unearth a long-hidden secret. Can they defeat the evil twins, Les Deux, rewrite history and save their present, or will history repeat itself, 800 years in the future?

Find out more about Steve and his books and buy : https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Costello/e/B009NA6PIY

I am afraid that there is simply not enough time or space to mention everyone who has been with me for the last four years. However, you all mean the world to me and I would not be so inspired to keep on writing without you.  Thank you a million times over and I hope I have not left anyone out.

Thank you so much to everyone who has dropping in over the last three days. There have been so many music requests that I will be putting a couple of posts together later in the week to feature as many as possible along with your links.

To finish off the show today another one of my favourites and sums up how I feel after three days of partying with you.. I think it says it all.  Join the rest of these guys by getting up and clapping along..

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 24th July – Hugh Roberts, Jan Moore and Darlene Foster, Mary Smith and Sue Vincent


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to the first blogger round up of the week with some of the posts that I read over the weekend. To start us off another informative ‘How To’ post on blogging from Hugh Roberts... to reblog or not to reblog?.. that be the question…

One the nicest things another blogger can do is to share one or more of our blog posts. I remember when one of my posts was reblogged for the first time. As a new blogger, it was one of the most wonderful feelings I had, and I was excited that my post was now in front of thousands of new readers. Even today, I still get those same feelings whenever one of my posts is reblogged.

Unless you’ve chosen to turn off all your WordPress notifications, then you will get an email notification from WordPress when one of your posts is reblogged. It will tell you the following information –

Read the rest of this informative post on blogging: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2017/07/19/what-to-do-when-one-of-your-blog-posts-is-reblogged-bloggingtips/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Darlene was invited to be a guest on Jan Moore’s site Work on Your Own Terms

Jan’s site is dedicated to helping women enjoy meaningful work that fits their lifestyle and providing mentorship on midlife reinvention. Check it out, you will find it interesting.

Guest Post by: Darlene Foster – Daydream Believer

I can´t remember when I didn´t have the urge to travel and experience new worlds. My dear grandmother bought me a colouring book featuring children from around the world in traditional dress. I loved that book and wished, with each page I coloured, I could visit these places one day. Studies have proven daydreaming is good for young people because it plants seeds that often become reality. Of course, those dreams don´t come true without hard work and determination.

I had a good life in Canada. I grew up on the prairies and eventually moved to the beautiful West Coast where I worked as a recruiter and later as an employment counsellor. I loved my home, friends, family and job. However, the desire to travel the world was never far from my mind.

Read the rest of Darlene’s guest post here: http://workonyourownterms.com/daydream-believer-you-can-be-one-too/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Mary Smith recently offered her book No More Mulberries FREE and achieved amazing results. Here is her breakdown that anyone who is planning on doing likewise will find useful, including the paid for services that she employed.

I thought I’d give an update on my No More Mulberries promotion when, for five days, I offered it FREE to download.

I know it seems counter-intuitive to give books away and some authors are opposed to the idea and for a long time so was I. I knew it was something many indie authors did but I really didn’t like the idea of all my hard work being simply given away.

The redoubtable Jackie Weger, founder of eNovel Authors at Work, of which I am a proud member, persuaded me. She took me gently by the hand, pointed her snake gun at me and said, “Do it!” I did it.

I’m delighted with the result. Over the five days almost 5,000 people downloaded the book, mainly in USA and UK but also in Canada, Australia, India and Italy. Okay, so they didn’t pay me for it but money isn’t everything, is it? I love the idea so many new readers now have a copy of No More Mulberries on their Kindles.

Read the rest of the post and discover how Mary achieved this result: https://takefiveauthors.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/free-promotion-update/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Sue Vincent with a useful post for new bloggers and those of us who are still trying to get to grips with the various applications… Our spam folders can be a source of irritation as it fills up with all sorts of enticements.. some of which you might never have heard of.. Sue offers some advice and also tips on how to manage this ravenous beast.

There is a debate about whether or not you should manually moderate all comments before allowing them to appear on you blog. I personally do not moderate every comment. I do moderate every first comment from a reader and it is usually fairly easy to spot who is genuine and who is a spammer.

Spammers should not be allowed on your blog if you can possibly prevent it. They will, if you are not keeping an eye on the ball, fill your post comments with their advertisements for everything from Russian brides to sex aids, training shoes to financial scams.

Should a spammer get through the many barriers WordPress has put in their way, a vigilant blogger will soon spot their comments and consign them to the spam folder with a single click. Once sent to spam, Askimet generally gets the message pretty quickly and all future comments from that source will also be sent to spam.

Find out more about your spam folder and how to manage it: https://scvincent.com/2017/07/21/take-control-a-beginners-guide-to-spam-and-how-to-spot-it/

Thanks for dropping by and please share the link to your most recent post by sending by email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com or by leaving in the comments section of this post. Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday July 21st – Damyanti Biswas, Nicholas Rossis, Mary Smith and Yoli


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to today’s selection of post that I have read that you might find interesting and entertaining.. I would love to share all the posts that I have enjoyed today but you would be here until Christmas….. however, feel free to send me the link to your latest post to sally.cronin@moyhill.com so that I can include.

The first post is by author Damyanti Biswas who is sharing some tips on how to make Blogspot posts more user friendly for readers who would like to share.

I used to blog via Google’s Blogspot, or Blogger, for about 8 years– it ran parallel to this one until last year, when I merged the two blogs into this site. In all those years, I made tons of friends on Blogspot.

I still visit as many of you as I can (never enough, but still), and sometimes I wish I could talk to all you friends on Blogspot, tell you my wish-list as a visitor, commenter, and friend.

Here’s a list of things I’d appreciate from my Blogspot friends in order to make it easier for us to stay in touch: (Some of you have them all covered– this is for those who may not have thought of these points)

  1. Make it easy to follow you: Blogspot doesn’t provide a good follow system any more— have you considered adding a Feedly widget? Here’s a post on how that will help your commenters and followers.
  2. Give us an option to comment via Name/ URL: A lot of Blogspot blogs do not allow a visitor to comment unless they’re logged into Google plus or Blogspot. By allowing the Name/URL option as well as OpenID, you vastly increase the number of bloggers who can easily comment on your posts. Check out how to do this, here. If you’re afraid of spam, you could enable comment moderation!

Read the rest of the sharing tips here: http://www.damyantiwrites.com/2017/07/19/i-need-help-from-my-blogspot-friends/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

The next post to catch my eye was from Nicholas Rossis who has been on a retreat to a Greek Island that has been left largely untouched by modern technology and heaven forbid… Google.. Worth reading for the photographs and the desciptions of pterodactyl seagulls and sandy beaches and also as a test for your own addiction to being online.

If you shuddered and went into a spasm when you heard there was no Internet seek help immediately!

You may have noticed I’ve been unusually silent in the past few days. The reason is that I took a much-needed break to a nearby island, Evia. However, it turned out I had accidentally stumbled upon the land that time forgot: no Internet anywhere—including our hotel and the one café in the area—and a very spotty cell connection that made receiving emails almost impossible.

Head over and view this idyllic getaway and take the test! http://nicholasrossis.me/2017/07/19/the-land-that-time-forgot/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Mary Smith​ shares one of her early posts on caring for her father with Dementia.. following this blog is a must for anyone caring for a parent or as some do, both parents who are experiencing mental illness. You are not alone.. millions now are in the position of carer as their parents live longer lives.  Mary writes with humour and it is clear that she loves her father deeply. However, as dementia takes more of the mind it leaves huge gaps that result in frustrating and sometimes hurful behaviour.. Very tough to remember the man or woman who was when the person they are now do not know who you are.

Here is an extract from the post on My Dad’s a Goldfish

After some time the step-monster announced she thought it would be a good idea if the Goldfish went into the local residential home – “only one day a week so he can have lunch and a shower.” Wee-sis and I were horrified at this thin end of the wedge being shoved in. He’d hate residential care.

Since the dementia started he has become terribly confused – to the point of hallucinating – whenever he’s had to go into hospital, not knowing where he is and not understanding why he is there when we explain he is in hospital. We’ve had some of the most bizarre conversations when the Goldfish has been in hospital. Once, he was convinced the nurses’ station was a bakery and told Wee-sis to go and ask for a cake as they were just about to take one out of the oven. On another occasion he thought he had been taken to a hospital in the north of Scotland for blood tests and had been away overnight. “You’d think they would be able to do the tests here,” he complained, “instead of wasting all that time and petrol to go to Perth.”

Read the rest of this poignant and also informative post about care of someone with dementia: https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/my-dads-a-goldfish-going-back/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

My next post is from Yoly who is a mum to six children, three of whom are fostered. She clearly is very aware of road safety with so many to look after and in this post she recounts a story that illustrates her pet peeve.. dangerous driving.

Everyone has a pet peeve. What is your pet peeve? I’m going to share a funny story of how mine almost got me in trouble with the law.

It was time to take my kids to school. I had to park across the street to drop then off in front of the school. I had to walk with them since they were too young to cross alone. I crossed with them and came back to the car. As I’m in my car, I see this black SUV fly by me. I couldn’t believe how fast she was driving while seeing all these kids running to school because the bell had rung. I was burning inside, I couldn’t let it go.

I decided to follow her to give her a piece of my mind

Find out what happened and how the cops got involved: https://thechallenge2017.blog/2017/07/20/what-is-your-pet-peeve/

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – My book review of No More Mulberries by Mary Smith


I am a reader first and a writer second. However, these days there is not a balance between the two.. I have been intending to read No More Mulberries by Mary Smith for some time and took the opportunity to download during her free offer recently. There are an impressive number of excellent reviews for the book and I knew I was not going to be disappointed.

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 over 130 reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith/dp/1849234205

Also by Mary Smith

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

If Mary’s book is on your TBR I hope you will read sooner rather than later… and if it is not as yet part of your future, please head over and buy. Thanks Sally

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Mary Smith, Richard Ankers, Charles E. Yallowitz and Robbie Cheadle


It is a bumper edition this week with a FREE offer and three NEW books on the shelves. First Mary Smith whose book set in Afghanistan, No More Mulberries is FREE to download until Sunday 9th of July.

About the book

Set in Afghanistan, British-born Miriam finds her marriage to her Afghan doctor husband heading towards crisis. She has to journey into her past to understand how unresolved issues are damaging her relationship. It is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

One of the 133 reviews for the book.

Recommended!  on March 26, 2015

Miriam is a midwife and left her native Scotland to marry an Afghan after waiting a year to seek approval from his parents. Their love prevailed and they had a son, Farid, together. When Miriam goes back to Scotland to visit her father she receives the devastating news her husband, Jawad, has died. She can’t go back as a single woman but Afghanistan is the home of her heart and she wants to help its people. When she meets an Afghan doctor, Iqbal, who needs a wife she finds herself thinking that the ways of an arranged marriage with common interests and goals at its core isn’t such a bad way to start a marriage. She also wants her son to know his homeland and so she marries her doctor and they set off on a new life where she looks forward to helping him run his clinic in his poor village.

However, customs, traditions and culture can not be so easily ignored. Even though they have a daughter, Ruckshana, together, and he seemed to be less inclined to follow strict Islamic traditions when they met, once he is surrounded by rural life again saving face becomes his priority. Or so she thinks. Iqbal’s own past and fears catch up with him and, in the shadow of Jawad’s ghost, he falters.

This novel is chock full of Afghanistan culture and is an absolutely brilliant read. It really is hard to believe this is a debut novel. Educational as well as entertaining from a fictional point of view, Mary Smith shares her unique perspective on the politics, culture and people of Afghanistan brought about by her years working in the area. The sights and sounds of the country come alive in this tale and I was engrossed from the start. This is a book which makes you think and also, if you look deeper, gives you answers to questions we ask when faced with a culture which is so different to our own. Mary Smith brought the country of Afghanistan alive for me in a way no news article could ever do.

Download your copy of No More Mulberries FREE until Sunday: https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith/dp/1849234205

Also by Mary Smith

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

The next author celebrating not just the release of his latest books but fantastic new covers of his other two books, is Richard Ankers whose third book in The Eternals Series was published this week.

About the book

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.

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

Also by Richard Ankers

A recent review for Hunter Hunted, Book Two of the Eternal Series.

Having thoroughly enjoyed my initial foray into author Richard Ankers unique vision of a futuristic vampire tale brimming with gothic imagery, steampunk ingenuity, and engaging, well-developed characters; I was eager to immerse myself yet again into the shifting landscapes of Earths far distant future. Told in first-person voice by the lead character who is neither grotesque vampire nor human, Eternal Lord Jean relates his tale through a seductive combination of cynical mirth and revealing honesty.

In this second installment of the distinctive trilogy that seamlessly pairs a vampire tale with dystopian, sci-fi and steampunk elements, Jean finds himself in the legendary city of Hvit, home to the incomparable Nordic Royalty: Albino Eternals who live amid the wastes of the Arctic in a close-knit community and unexpected brutality. Jean quickly discovers how valuable any alliance with the Nordics can be, particularly the newly introduced, mysterious Nordic Princess Aurora.

For me, the graceful, immensely powerful, often stoic Nordics ‘stole the show’. I found myself repeatedly reading the passages that described their super-human (and even super-vampiric) capabilities; their enigmatic home deep in the ice of the Arctic plain, and their shocking hunting prowess. Nordic Prince Grella became an immediate favourite, as his brooding personality and unpredictability left me eager to know more about him.
Jean’s quest to understand the truth about those who try to manipulate him, as well as the truth of his own life, leads him full circle, which is as metaphorically ingenious as it is compelling reading. I highly recommend delving into this little-know gem of a tale!

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

The next author with a new book is Charles Yallowitz with The Life and Times of Ichabod Brooks. Enter the world of Windemere with 11 action adventure short stories featuring a man who is out to make an honest living.

About the book

Some heroes seek fame. Some seek fortune. Others simply want to save the world. Ichabod Brooks only wants to put food on the table for his family.

Known and respected as the man who can get any job done, Ichabod has seen his share of adventure. Most of which have been highly exaggerated by bards. Still, the man has his famous reputation for a reason. Whether it be climbing a temperamental mountain for eggs or escorting orphans to their new homes, Ichabod takes every job seriously and makes sure he is as prepared as he can be. Not that it helps since things always take a turn for the worse.

Two of the early reviews

What a great collection of short stories! Ichabod is an interesting character that has many years of adventuring under his belt. I liked the different fantasy creatures the author came up with and the flow of the stories. I really think Ichabod’s wife needs her own set of stories though and after you read these you will see why. Creative stories, fun adventures and smart writing. I hope there are more of these books to come. Recommended to anyone that loves fantasy adventures.

This is a fun collection of short stories involving my favorite Windemere character. Ichabod has to test his skills against monsters, competitors, devious employers, and false employers, all while keeping his loyalties to his family at the forefront.

I love short story collections, and recommend this one fully. I was provided an advance copy of this book with no anticipation of a review.

Buy a copy of the book: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Times-Ichabod-Brooks-ebook/dp/B073NR7XK

A selection of books also by Charles E. Yallowitz.

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

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

 Connect to Charles via his blog –  www.legendsofwindemere.com

Time to end on a sweet note with the latest children’s book by Robbie Cheadle. Silly Willy goes to Capetown also contains the recipe for five fun party cakes.  Bake and Write are the key words.

About the book

When the George family go on holiday to Cape Town, Cautious Craig cannot believe what he has to endure at the hands of his naughty and wilful younger brother, Silly Willy, Willy throws tantrums at the most embarassing and inappropriate times, causes a commotion on the aeroplane and tries to steal a chameleon from Butterfly World. What is a poor older brother to do in these situations.

Buy the book and bake the cakes: https://www.amazon.com/Silly-Willy-Goes-Cape-Adventures/dp/1911070770

The latest review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook

Who could not pick up Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s story-and-baking book, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees Story and Cookbook (TSL Publications 2017) after reading this blurb:

“A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.”

This is a fun poetic story about the adventures of Sir Chocolate interspersed with wonderful recipes parents and kids create together–foods like Cheesy Bread and Butter Biscuits–accompanied by cute real-life pictures of the sugar dough creations, I have never seen a book that blended recipes and reading. How clever is that! Kids love cooking with parents, and now they can blend that with a favorite pastime: reading.

One more note: Robbie and Michael are mother-and-son. Not only will kids be inspired to cook with parents, but write and publish a book.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Connect to Robbie and Michael at their blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you are an author on the shelves of the bookstore then please let me know if you have a new release, great review or an offer. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

If you would like to join these authors and more than 200 others on the shelves of the bookstore then please take a look at what I need to showcase your work.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Smorgasbord Poetry – Water God by Mary Smith


I am delighted to welcome Mary Smith today with her poem Water God from her collection Thousands Pass here Every Day. The poem is dedicated to her son and a reminder of his childhood.

WATER GOD
(To David)

Sun-gleam on wet bronze limbs,
seal sleek you slip
into the deepest pool.
From the rocks I watch,
afraid of your fearlessness,
breath held as brown water
closes over you.
Surfacing, you laugh,
a careless toss of your head
scattering miniature rainbows –
my water god of the Otter Pool.

Other children splash,
playing safe
in sun-warmed shallows.
Their mothers silently question
my carelessness of you.
They do not know
how deep the fear,
how powerless
the mother of a deity
who believes he’s indestructible –
my water god of the Otter Pool.

©MarySmith 2017

Two reviews for the collection

This is a poetry collection you will want to keep going back to. Mary Smith’s work is subtle and delicate, possessing a quiet, sure strength. The poems are well crafted but never over-written, a difficult balance to get right. Many of the poems have a quiet magic with wonderfully understated effects. The book also has a wide range of subjects, moods and forms so there is much variety and the reader is continually stimulated with fresh insights and discoveries. Highly recommended.

This is a wonderful first collection by Mary Smith. I know her work as a novelist through her novel No More Mulberries and I was delighted to find she has included several poems about Afghanistan. These poems provide vivid snapshots of life and landscapes and of a people who come across as resilient and life affirming despite the war.

She writes, too, about her native Scotland, in particular the wonderful wild landscape of Dumfries & Galloway and she explores themes of memory and identity, drawing on her own childhood experiences. Whether writing about the small boys in Afghanistan who, with their flocks of sheep, `helter-skelter down a mountainside/in a cloud of dust’; losing a parent to dementia; Afghan women laughing at her lack of education; or Glasgow’s Ramshorn Kirkyard where `the dead draw us in, entice the living/to consider past lives’ Mary Smith brings a warmth and compassion to her work.

Some of the poems, like the very amusing `Erratic’ and `Smeddum’ are in Scots, though most are in English, in this collection which readers will want to dip into time and time again.  

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thousands-Pass-Here-Every-Day/dp/1907401911

Other books by Mary Smith

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

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

About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Connect to Mary on her blogs and social media.

Facebook addresshttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/marysmithwriter
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
Website:www.marysmith.co.uk
Blog: https://takefiveauthors.wordpress.com/mary-smith/
Blog: https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/

My thanks to Mary for her contribution to the poetry posts and if you would like to share one of your poems then please email me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com