Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Family Christa Polkinhorn, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie, #Memoir J.E. Pinto


Welcome to the mid-week edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Christa Polkinhorn for The Italian Sister (The Wine Lover’s Daughter Book 1).

About the book

Standing at her father’s grave in California, Sofia Laverne mourns his untimely death. Henry had not only been a loving parent but Sofia’s best friend and mentor. Imagine her shock and grief when she finds out her father had lived a double-life, that she has a ten-year younger sister and inherited a vineyard in Tuscany. Torn between anger about his betrayal, grief for her loss, and hopeful anticipation, Sofia packs her bags and takes off for Italy to meet fourteen-year old Julietta. Arriving in the small hill town of Vignaverde, she is greeted by olive groves, neat rows of grape vines, and picturesque houses. Some of the inhabitants of this beautiful estate are, unfortunately, less welcoming and resent her intrusion into the family business. Soon, strange occurrences begin to frighten Sofia. When a suspicious accident lands her in the hospital, Sofia fears for her life.

Part family drama, part romantic suspense, THE ITALIAN SISTER takes us on a wild journey from California to Tuscany and provides glimpses into the exciting world of winemaking.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Kindle Customer LL 5.0 out of 5 stars Who wouldn’t want to live in Tuscany on a vineyard? Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2020

Nice storyline with a Tuscan backdrop. Makes the reader feel they are with the lead character. Very enjoyable. Interesting into On wine production.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A Selection of other books by Christa Polkinhorn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Christa : Goodreads

Connect to Christa via her blog: Christa Polkinhorn

The next review is for author Jessica Norrie for her recent novel The Magic Carpet.

About the book

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2020

There are many characters in the book, yet it is such a pleasure getting to know them. We follow a handful of children as they grapple with the school Magic Carpet project: take a fairy story home and involve the whole family in retelling it. The children are enthusiastic.

The families are at times confused, uninterested, antagonistic, and eventually cooperative. We follow individual children trying to put form onto their imaginations, and each of their parents and carers as the project impinges on their lives.

The author knows her subject and her subjects! We are in an inner-city multicultural setting, where the community, through the school, get to know each other and each other’s worlds. The school is the catalyst.

Day-to-day family rifts and dramas interweave, as the children engage with the school project, overcome barriers on the way, and produce a splendid final school production.
It’s a joy to read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews buy the books: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

Find more reviews : Goodreads

Connect to Jessica via her website:Jessica Norrie on WordPress

The next author with a recent review for a memoir sharing the adventures of parenting when you are a sight impaired mother…by J.E. Pinto…Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark.

About the book

“So Sarah?” the teacher asked, in a question I had rehearsed with her, “what’s it like to have a blind mom?”“Well,” my little girl said, in an unrehearsed answer, “it’s like a regular mom, except Daddy won’t let her drive his car.”With that nonchalant reply in front of her second grade class, Sarah summed up the way my blindness has fit into the fabric of our family. It isn’t a problem; it isn’t even a novelty; it’s just part of how we roll. My blindness has changed a few practical logistics. But in the end, kids are kids and moms are moms, and the dents and delights of parenthood are universal. As I told my daughter when she was very small, putting an only slightly different spin on the words my mom had said to me thirty years before, “The eyes in my face are broken, but the ones in the back of my head work just fine.”“Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark” is a book of short vignettes—most of them lighthearted, a few more serious—about my life as the blind mother of a sighted daughter. Welcome to my journey!

One of the recent reviews for the book

CuteAsADaisy 4.0 out of 5 stars Back Eyes  Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2020

As a mother of a daughter who is legally blind I absolutely loved listening to this book. It a group of short stories from a blind mother with a mix of life lessons, cute stories, frustrating moments from ignorant and some just plain rude people. She even included her solution to problems like using hot glue (brilliant and Thank you!) to baking recipes. I loved the stories about her “Back eyes” all mom’s have them! Whether you are blind or not this is a great book for parents in any stage. I liked the little stories format and would love to hear more from this author. The narrator did a great job and was easy to listen. This was a really fun and quick read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

And also by J.E. Pinto

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow J.E. Pinto on : Goodreads

Connect with J. E. Pinto via her Facebook: Author J.E. Pinto

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

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #HistoricalRomance Karen Demers Dowdall, #Thriller Toni Pike, #Design Valentina Cirasola, #Memoir J.E. Pinto


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

If you enjoy historical romance then The Captain’s Witch by Karen Demers Dowdall could be the gift for you..

About The Captain’s Witch

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book on December 5th by Colleen M. Chesebro

“The Captain’s Witch” begins in the present, introducing us to Sara Windsor Knightly, an ancestral Wiccan who inherits the family manor. After she moves in, she discovers that Jacobite ghosts haunt the residence. One, in particular, the ghost of Captain Christian Windsor seems fated to connect with Sara.

On the property stands a towering White Oak tree, originally planted on the grave of Alice Windsor Hall, Sara’s distant relative. Alice, falsely accused of witchcraft, suffered a brutal death at the hands of Reverend Baron Warwick, a Puritan Zealot who has plans for Sara’s daughter, Clara.

Now, after 300 years, Alice’s spirit returns from the otherworld on a mission to rewrite history and save her daughter. She enlists the help of Sara and Christian who travel back and forth in time trying to correct the errors of the past.

Can Christian and Sara’s love survive through the ages, or will fate deal them a cruel hand?

For me, this book came across as more of a mystery than a romance. There is chemistry between the characters, but it was not overdone.

I enjoyed the witchy aspects of the novel, especially the history behind Alice Windsor Hall. I had to pay close attention to the time travel aspects to understand when the characters moved through different periods. Yet, this was a fun entertaining read.

Also by K.D Dowdall

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK:  Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Karen on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Karen Anna via her blogKaren Dowdall

If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers then Desolation Bluff by Toni Pike would be a great addition to your gift list… and today I am sharing my review for the book.

About the book

Blind romance author Oliver Cameron uses the pen name of Fidel Amore and thinks he has the perfect life at his country estate near Desolation Bluff. After a honeymoon in Paris, his wife Vanessa continues her work as his assistant. His friend Ray is the business manager who lives in the gatehouse and also acts as the public face of Fidel Amore, doing all those book-signing trips that Oliver never wanted to attend. Helen Dunkley is the housekeeper devoted to him since childhood – but she detests the two newcomers.

Complications set in when Ray, working on his old car, accidentally backs into Oliver. His injuries appear minor but the next day he suddenly regains his sight. Oliver wants Ray and Rachel to be the first to hear his good news, but when he finds them he uncovers a shocking betrayal.

A game of cat and mouse begins – and with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, it turns deadly.

A short suspense novel that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

My review for Desolation Bluff – Four Stars – July 30th 2019

For a short novel Desolation Bluff is packed with suspense and action.

Life is challenging enough for those with a sight impairment, when trust of those around you is essential. Oliver Cameron feels blessed to have a highly successful writing career, loyal housekeeper, a wonderfully supportive wife and best friend and back from honeymoon, he couldn’t be happier.

As we become involved in the story, and are party to events that Oliver is not aware of, it is easy to become angry on his behalf as the depths of betrayal are exposed. How will he deal with the revelations that unfold? Seeking revenge requires careful planning but people will go to great lengths to protect their secrets. For some of those who are looking out for Oliver’s best interests, this can be dangerous. Especially when an unexpected ally turns up on the scene who might be less likely to be intimidated.

The characters are well drawn and the plot moves along at a good pace. It is easy to take sides as the story develops and the climax leaves you on the edge of your seat…. and Desolation Bluff.

Also by Toni Pike

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Toni on: Goodreads

Connect to Toni via her website: Toni Pike

Now time to bring some colour into your life courtesy of designer Valentina Cirasola and her book Red: A Voyage Into Colors. A book about colour and its influence on our lives in all aspects including spiritually.

About the book

From the dawn of time, every race and population have attributed various meanings and symbolism to colors. This book talks about colors, how humans can benefit from using them, how our health, spirit, and state of mind can improve by using all colors without distinction.

The book teaches how to create and mix colors as a study for people who have an interest in becoming artists and are just starting. Also, the book delves into understanding colors from a spiritual point of view and how to use them, in a technical way, for interiors, fashion, food, entertainment and much more. It is so important when mixing colors to look at nature as our best teacher, where all colors are mixed together and co-exist well without rules and prejudices. We can simply copy nature and feel perfect in our choice of colors.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Nov 16, 2019 James rated it Five stars on Goodreads

For the most part, I am a fiction reader. On occasion, I pick up a non-fiction book when the subject matter or theme is of interest. Red – A Voyage Into Colors by Valentina Cirasola was a book that crossed my path earlier this year when I stumbled upon the author’s design website and personal blog. Being a person who generally leans toward blacks, grays, and whites, I thought maybe I should learn a little more about the color wheel.

Although this book is entitled Red, it is not merely about this one color. The author shares the history and background of all the colors on the spectrum, teaching us the differences between hues and shades, tones and variations. The book is only ~125 page and contains dozens of photos of colors and their uses in various designs, homes, and picturesque settings. It’s easy to digest, well-written, and has an amazing personal touch. Valentina has quite a fun personality.

Some of the content I recall learning in school. Other I’ve picked up throughout my life. Seeing it all together again in one book is a comprehensive way to learn about our lives. For instance, I remembered why red was a warm color, and blue a cool one, but I didn’t know how it affected my life or made me feel. It was great to dive back into these ideas and facts, and seeing how these colors play in my life today was helpful. I actually (without knowing it) designed my living room to use all the appropriate matching color patterns and schemes. My bedroom might need some work though!

What a great way to make us ponder the things we often spend too little time thinking about… I pick clothes based on what fits. What if I went out in search specifically for clothes with color combinations that work for me? I plan to re-read this book again in small chunks. Too much at once can get lost because you want to process the advice and imagery. Next time I need to make a color decision, I’ll definitely come back to this one to focus on the important questions.

I recommend this one for every type of reader because it has a little bit of everything when it comes to choosing what makes us happy versus what might be the first thing we see in our closet or drawer, on the computer or phone screen, or on the rack of shelf at the store.

Also by Valentina Cirasola

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

You can read more reviews and follow Valentina on: Goodreads

Connect to Valentina via her website:www.Valentinadesigns.com

The next author with a recent review for a memoir sharing the adventures of parenting when you are a sight impaired mother…by J.E. Pinto…Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark.

 

About the book

“So Sarah?” the teacher asked, in a question I had rehearsed with her, “what’s it like to have a blind mom?”“Well,” my little girl said, in an unrehearsed answer, “it’s like a regular mom, except Daddy won’t let her drive his car.”With that nonchalant reply in front of her second grade class, Sarah summed up the way my blindness has fit into the fabric of our family. It isn’t a problem; it isn’t even a novelty; it’s just part of how we roll. My blindness has changed a few practical logistics. But in the end, kids are kids and moms are moms, and the dents and delights of parenthood are universal. As I told my daughter when she was very small, putting an only slightly different spin on the words my mom had said to me thirty years before, “The eyes in my face are broken, but the ones in the back of my head work just fine.”“Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark” is a book of short vignettes—most of them lighthearted, a few more serious—about my life as the blind mother of a sighted daughter. Welcome to my journey!

One of the recent reviews for the book

I read most of this book when I couldn’t sleep last night, And the rest of it with my morning cup of coffee. I love the way she mixes humor with compassion and gives us a glimpse into the world of blind parenthood. Although this is a central theme in the book, there is so much more to it. One can learn lessons of empathy, living each moment to the fullest, solving problems creatively, looking beyond the surface, and The beauty of looking at the world through a child’s imagination. The love between daughter and mom shines through so brightly in this book. Makes me want to meet them!

And also by J.E. Pinto

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow J.E. Pinto on : Goodreads

Connect with J. E. Pinto via her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjepinto/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two under your arm..thanks Sally.