Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Release – #Mystery D.L.Finn, Reviews #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Memoir Joy Lennick, #Dystopian Teri Polen


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is celebrating a new release is D.L. Finn for her YA  mystery Dolphin’s Cave.

About the book

The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by D.L. Finn

One of the recent reviews for This Last Chance

Balroop Singh 4.0 out of 5 stars A unique murder mystery  Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2020

This Last Chance by D.L. Finn explores a unique connection between Angels, evildwels and humans. The story underlines the fact that love eventually vanquishes evil. I marvel at the descriptive details about the Angels and their efforts to protect us from those who might harm us. Finn builds up suspense right in the beginning; it continues to grow and a nagging tension keeps you riveted to hear the outcome. A snowy and cold backdrop adds another dimension to the murder of Amber’s sister and her own safety.

Amber’s character is admirable, as she is observant, amiable and brave. She resolves to solve the mystery of her sister’s murder despite all the scary signs of being followed. Her patience and grit in the moment of crisis is remarkable. Even Angels love her. Nester too is drawn to Amber, he struggles to communicate with the winged ones but is scared of being overheard by an evildwel. His transformation is another amazing aspect of the story. I wonder how Finn could convert it into a feel good story despite the anxious moments. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Website: D.L. Finn Author –  Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

Now time for some recent reviews

The first book today with a recent review, comes with my own recommendation and is a murder mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

My review for the book November 10th 2020

What an amazing location to set this novel which rapidly turns a cruise of a lifetime into a murder scene, and a deepening mystery about the star of the Galapagos islands, a giant tortoise called Tio Armando.

These celebrated islands are heavily reliant on tourism for the funding of conservation projects involving the unique flora and fauna, some of which is near extinction. There are several interested parties in maintaining this lucrative business opportunity and some are therefore keen to cover up discrepancies and even murder.

Things are not adding up on board the luxury cruise liner and the mystery deepens as one of the passengers appears to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This is followed as the passengers disembark for guided tours of the various conservation projects to find that promised exhibits are missing.

Giovanna is not only there to take in the sights and is on a mission to expose and get justice after being fleeced by a habitual conman, discovering in the processs that she is not the only one aboard the ship who has been taken to the cleaners. The subject of her investigation however has his own agenda, with prospective victims already  drawn into his schemes. Lives are at risk as well as fortunes and the action heats up in a race against time.

The author has written articles on her visit to the Galapagos Islands and clearly spent her time well on researching the various islands and conservation efforts. This gives the novel a very authentic  feel.

The action is played out on the ship, in the waters rich with marine life surrounding the islands and ashore as the group of sightseers visit scientific projects and the capital of the Galapagos.

The players are diverse and some of them you wouldn’t necessarily want to be trapped on a cruise liner with, but all have a part to play as the mystery unravels. There are some lovely interludes as we tag along with the passengers exploring this incredible region, where we are introduced to the wonders of the nature to be found there. And there is also the burgeoning romance between Giovanna and the young detective, who may be the only person who can bring all the threads of this mystery together to provide us with a satisfactory conclusion.

This is an exciting adventure as well as a murder mystery with the bonus of being a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos Islands.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

The next author is a welcome guest writer on the blog Joy Lennick, with a recent review for her memoir “My Gentle War”.My Gentle War a memoir, is about my paternal and maternal families and some of my experiences as an evacuee, especially to Wales, which still owns a chunk of my heart! Some of my Dad’s diary entries are included as they were such a contrast to mine!

It is the story of a young girl and her family. Ripped away from the home she loved, from her friends, and familiar surroundings, she spends her formative years in the comparative safety of the Welsh Valleys. With the World at War, and her father sent to the battlefields of Europe, her war is fought holding back tears whilst waiting for news of her father, never knowing whether she will see him again. This is the story of a young girl learning to live a new life, holding her family together in unfamiliar surroundings, all the while dreaming of the father that was forced to leave her. My Gentle War is Joy’s story.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars A child’s memories of Wales during WWII  Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020

This memoir focuses primarily on the years 1939 through 1941 when the author was 9-11 years old, a child living in Wales with her younger brothers during WWII. The children were sent to Wales to escape the more dangerous areas around London.

This isn’t a harsh story. It’s a recounting of life from the perspective of a child and is, therefore, full of fun and imagination and resilience. There are “ear-wigging” glimpses into the adult world, news of the war, and letters from the author’s dad who was serving in France. The sad and confusing realities of war surely intrude on daily life, but the focus is on friends and relatives, memorable gatherings and events. There are new trousers, dance performances, and games of truth or dare!

Lennick’s writing is witty and conversational, and she includes a handful of poems commemorating particular memories. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the brief jump ahead at the end to the conclusion of the war. The feeling of joy is palpable in the pages.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Also by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and by the books : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

The final author today is Teri Polen with a recent review for The Colony Series Book One – Subject A36

About the book

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars I can’t wait for the next book!  Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020

“Subject A36” is a YA story set in the future. There is a divide in how people are treated. The Colony contains the people who have all the money and power. They harvest good genetic traits from the insurgents or the have-nots, a process that kills the donor. The insurgents rescue those who are picked up to do the harvests. It’s a time where having a certain color of eyes or being intelligent means death to those who don’t live in the Colony. Seventeen-year-old Asher lost his family to this horrible practice and found his place on missions to release people from certain deaths. I love his relationship with his team, especially Brynn, the one who holds his heart. The connections feel very real to me and all the complications that go with hidden truths. This is a fast-paced story told in first-person through different points of view, which added to understanding the complicated world in which Asher exists. There are a lot of twists and surprises for Asher and his team. A couple of times, I was so invested in what was happening, sleep became unimportant. Although this is a YA read, it’s a story for adults too. I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK

Also by Teri Polen

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Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Follow Teri: Goodreads – website: Teri PolenTwitter: @Tpolen6

 

Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

 

Posts from my Archives – Guest Interviews – Open House 2018 with Author Joy Lennick


For the next few weeks  I will be sharing some of the guest interviews over the last few years that I thought you might enjoy reading.

This week and Open House from March 2018 with the witty and delightful author Joy Lennick who shares her love of the 20th century, her adventures she has encountered during her 30 years as an author, her favourite colour and music.

Before we find out more… a little bit about Joy.

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

Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Given a choice of centuries to live in which would it be and why?

As I’m fascinated by Georgian architecture and dress, plus something indefinable about the period, I decided -. as I’ve tried Time Travel before (don’t ask…) – to visit the 1700s. I found it most interesting for a while and even witnessed the writer Jane Austen stepping from her carriage in front of her home in………………. Then as luck, or rather bad luck, would have it, I suffered gnawing toothache and headed for a dentist. The screams emanating from a terrified patient in the surgery had me quaking in the waiting room, so I decided to – post haste –return once more to the 1930s, where I knew I could have my tooth painlessly removed. The relief which followed this strategy was immense, so I decided to re-experience the 20th century-

In 1932, the year of my birth, the United Kingdom was between two wars, so peace reigned. My parents worked hard and were loving; our garden was an oasis of flower-adorned green, and Sunday roasts boasted peas, beans and carrots from our treasured patch of earth.

Into this idyllic scene, came my brother Terence, two years later. He was such a quiet baby and child, Mum said “He’s there when he isn’t, and isn’t when he is!” which totally confused me. Two years afterwards, I helped the midwife bathe second brother, Bryan.
Life was sweet. The Ink Spots sang on the wireless, Mum danced to the music of Edmundo Ross while dusting and we played Snakes & Ladders, flicked cigarette cards down the hallway, made ‘objects’ out of Meccano, and read books..

Dad joined the Royal Air Force Reserves, while a lunatic with a silly moustache raved in Germany in 1938/9, and Dad fumed as he had to dig up his rose-beds and erect an ugly outdoor air-raid shelter when war was declared.

Mum, being Welsh, it was decided that Wales would be a safer haven, and we found ourselves in Merthyr Tydfil living with ‘The Jones family:’ relatives who were wonderfully kind. Hitherto not allowed to play outside the confines of our garden in flat Dagenham, in Esssex, the ‘great outdoors’ yawned, inviting, and blackberry-loaded bushes had me salivating… .

With Dad in France and Mum working in a munitions factory, we children had different, and many, fun adventures.

I joined the library: burning the candles to stubs at night, reading the Brothers Grimms’ (so what I had nightmares!) and Hans Christian Anderson tales, plus anything else with words on…

The freedom of movement in Wales was liberating, and I enrolled at a dancing school, which was what dreams were made of, until circumstances changed after my third, dear brother, Royce was born.

When in Wales, Mum’s young cousin Islwyn was killed by a coal-fall at the age of seventeen and my Dad’s youngest brother, my Uncle Bernard, a navigator in the Royal Air Force, was declared ‘missing’ at the age of 22. He never did return from the war.
Despite such tragedies, eventually, peace brought relief from the threat of bombs, and the celebrations on London Bridge were euphoric.

The 40’s and 50’s were a fabulous time to grow up, despite no central heating or TV sets…We were entertained by Big Band sounds via Glen Miller and Harry James, the cool jazz of Ella Fitzgerald, with crooners Sinatra and Crosby, et al, singing understandable lyrics….

Gradually, such boons as fridges, washing machines and central heating, brightened our lives too.

The strides forward in medicine were astounding. In my infancy, thousands died of tuberculosis; now almost eradicated, and the surgical advancement is mind-boggling. The last decades have been a time of revelation and the refinement of technological advancement has left me speechless. And that’s saying something!

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

“Life’s path has many twists”   Anon

In 1983, my husband and I sold the small hotel-business we ran in Bournemouth, and I received a letter from Kogan Page Ltd., of London ASKING ME (?!) to write a book. (The editor had approached my former boss, asking did she know anyone who could write about hotel life. .Bingo!) Right place, right time, or what? The book was accepted, and I was paid an advance fee and another on publication and had to pinch myself. Defying belief, it sold extremely well and was reprinted due to demand. My eldest son, being an artist, designed the covers and I received regular royalties. The company then asked me to update two of their books, and write another on Jobs in Baking & Confectionery.. This entailed interviewing young people in colleges and doing research, all of which I enjoyed. The first book was titled Running Your Own Small Hotel (1984/5).

I then ran a postal poetry group called Odes for Joy which was fun. (The five pound yearly fee was given back in prizes.) After winning a couple of poetry prizes myself, I had Celtic Cameos & Other Poems published.

‘Life’ then intruded, and eventually…my husband and I retired to the Costa Blanca region of Spain.

I joined The Torrevieja Writing group and won first prize for Worth Its Salt in the First International Short Story Writing Competition held in Torrevieja in 2005, and was a judge for the following two years.

And now a sour note…Well, life is not all buttercups and roses, is it?. I was introduced to an epileptic sailor, and immediately succumbed to his plea for a writer to pen his on-going sea adventures. The BBC had already given him coverage when he rowed, single-handed (strapped in) across the Atlantic in a small boat. He tried to row the Pacific but nearly died, and I had his salt-stained log books, scribbled in in pencil, smothered with expletives and bad English to decipher…While I frowned and typed, he was attempting to cross the Pacific again! He had to be rescued in a very bad state, but recovered and had quite a tale to tell…

Meanwhile, I eventually covered all three rows and took a draft copy of the book to show his mother who lived in Clacton, UK (a much nicer human being than her son!). I spent the next two years…trying to find a publisher (the BBC declined) which cost me a penny or two.

Repeated assurances he would pay me, never materialized. I eventually found an excellent publisher in Spain: Libros International: and the book Hurricane Halsey become a reality. I was delighted, despite an empty pocket…as the photographs and covers were superb. Then Libros went out of business before a book-signing could be arranged! I sold several copies to friends and family (which I had purchased) after which I received threatening letters from said sailor that he would SUE ME?! (For buying and selling the books!!) Of course he had no grounds as I had signed on his behalf when the book was published, so I retained the copyright (not that I wanted it!). And there the matter rested. I put it down to just another of life’s experiences, bitter pill to swallow that it was.

(PS Because my early education was so abysmal (I attended seven schools!) I didn’t receive my A level English Lit. certificate until I was 66…)

What kind of music do you listen to and who are your favourite musicians?

“If music be the food of love play on Shakespeare.

Where to start? My husband and I both love an eclectic mix of music. We met at a ‘Jazz session’ held in the upstairs room of a public house in the East End of London, called ‘The Hayfield’ (he jokes he’s had the needle ever since…) I recall they played ‘Intermission Riff,’ ‘The Sabre Dance’ . to which we jived at half tempo…and one of Glen Miller’s latest hits. (As it was 69 years ago this autumn, I’m surprised I remembered.) We spent some of our courting time in the ‘Eleven Club’ in London and Ronnie Scott’s, plus The Lyceum ballroom, and Hammersmith Palace, cutting many a rug over the years. We admired Johnnie Dankworth’s playing and adored Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and a whole talented group of singers and other musicians like Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. My favourite instruments are the saxophone, piano and violin, and Ben Webster played a mean sax…while Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington were no slouches either. We also grew to love modern jazz.

I hope that Joy will enjoy this… Feeling Good… with Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine

I recall my parents playing records way back when and hamming it up – dancing a mock tango to Jealousy, and Dad played the powerful Bolero a lot, while one of my aunts played the piano beautifully. Her Rustle of Spring was memorable .During the war years, when on leave from the munitions factory, Mum pounded the ivories ‘by ear’- an expression I always found amusing. She played Roll out the Barrel and another war-time favourite: Kiss me Goodnight Sergeant Major.

I recall, as a child dancer, my teacher having excellent musical taste, and tap-dancing to the haunting strains of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, dressed to kill in silver and pale blue satin.

After marriage, we bought a smart radiogram, and apart from the delightful Nutcracker Suite , purchased several near soul-searing, beautiful recordings. We spent many lazy evenings listening to favourites like Scheherazade,and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; and I was soon familiar with the music of masters like Shostakovich, whose 2nd piano concerto, in particular, is heavenly, with Tchaikovsky twanging the heart-strings in the wings…

In later years, I listened to several riveting concerts at The South Bank and adored musicals. I actually appeared in Carousel as a dancer (in an amateur production I hasten to add), and saw many West End productions such as Candide, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, et al. And who, with blood in their veins, could not swoon with joy at the dancing and music from West Side Story?! Another treat was seeing The Gypsy Kings in London. Few people were seated once they got going! The atmosphere was electric.

Just for you Joy.. the Gipsy Kings….gipsykingsVEVO

 

It’s pleasing to note that, while each of our three sons has his own particular taste in music, they all appreciate a lot of the classical and jazz music we played to them over the years. At times though, my ears were ‘tortured’ by Punk, gently massaged by middle of the road stuff and excited by Reggae, which I enjoyed, and to which I ‘skanked’ (Oh MOTHER!) on occasion … ..

We have been extraordinarily lucky to have been fed such varied, fabulous music over the years. I was a great fan of the Three Tenors, and what an ear for music John Williams has, and Leonard Bernstein had! Nigel Kennedy also deserves a mention, and now we have settled in Spain, I love to listen to the passionate, soulful sound of the Spanish guitar. We have a delightful, small theatre in Torrevieja, and I heard the local youth orchestra play there, who were brilliant. During the last few years, another, larger theatre with excellent acoustics was built on the perimeter of our town. A cliché now – last but not least – a piece that ‘wrings me out emotionally:’ Joaquin Rodrigo’s The Concerto de Aranquezz, arguably one of the best guitar compositions of the 20th century.

What a gap there’s been since I played the triangle and tambourine at Infant’s school. Time is such a self-serving cannibal.

What is your favourite colour and why?

My favourite colour is blue, and on the world stage, BLUE stands tall and proud. One of the three primary colours of pigments in painting, it has been important over the years in art and decoration. In The 8th century in China, artists used cobalt blue and woad was used in clothing, until replaced by indigo from the United States in the 19th century. In the Renaissance period, the most expensive pigment was ultramarine. Dark blue was favoured for military uniforms, and because of its association with harmony, the colour blue was used for business suits in the 20th century, and for the flags of the United Nations and the European Union.

As a writer, I delight in all five senses, and despite maturity (lucky me), mine are still going strong. My hearing is so sharp, MO half calls me a bloodhound, and even my eyes are not too bad. As mentioned above, my favorite colour is blue, and on our modest, family stage -for are we not all minor players in the great play?? – the colour blue features markedly in our make-up. One side of the family is of Celtic origin: Ireland and Wales, and a larger proportion have bluey-grey through to deep blue eyes. Both parents had blue eyes, as do my surviving two brothers and myself. Two of my three sons also have blue eyes; the eldest having brown like his Dad.

And so, when it comes to what I wear: blue, MO half’s choice too, it’s often in the picture. From ‘powder’ to ‘baby, ‘‘petrol,’ through to ‘navy,’ ‘cobalt,’ or ‘Prussian,’ you’d find them all in my wardrobe at one time or another. I also love turquoise and lapis lazuli, the deep blue shade found in metamorphic rock used in semi-precious jewellery..

And then there are stained glass windows in churches and cathedrals. How many times have I stood, transfixed, as the light shone through one and the depth of the blue – often ‘Madonna’ – almost took my breath away in its rich and vivid splendour.

At school, I recall the particular smell of crayons as I coloured in a sky – always blue – of course, and the difficulty encountered trying to get the sea to look natural…And, on our various travels, I remember comparing the different skies and plumping for the Mediterranean ones…We lived in Canada for eighteen months before our children arrived, and – however cold it became – and it did… the sun shining against a brilliant blue back-drop always lifted the spirits. No wonder we love our Spanish skies so much!

Prussian, azure and cobalt blues again featured when I took up art in my fifties and struggled to make the sea look natural with my water colours, although my skies were passable. And looking in master Pablo Picasso’s direction, he had a very ‘Blue’ period between 1901 and 1904, at which time he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only now and then warmed by other colours.

What a rich, colourful, planet we live on. It’s a tragedy we don’t give it as much love as it deserves!

Books by Joy Lennick

A review for “My Gentle War”

Jan 05, 2020 Roberta Cheadle rated it Five Stars

My Gentle War is a delightful memoir about the life on a little girl, aged seven years old when war was declared in 1939, and her family as they navigated the changing landscape of everyday life in war time Britain. Joyce’s family lived a middle class life in Dagenham, London when the war started and her father and his brother, Bernard, signed up with the Royal Air Force to go and fight. Joyce’s parents decide that it will be safer for her mother, two younger brothers and herself to go and live with her family in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The book describes in great detail the difference between her father’s beautifully cultivated garden filled with gorgeous flowers in Dagenham and the wild and lonely beauty of life in the Welsh mountains. Her father’s sadness at having to ruin his garden by building a bomb shelter in the middle of it is the first insight the reader has of the changes that are going to come.

The second insight comes when the author describes the chaos of Paddington Station when her father leaves to go and fight in France and the rest of the family depart for Wales. It is not that easy for an evacuee to fit into life in a rural village, but Joyce and her brothers are young enough to do so without to many problems and, other than one incident when Joyce has a broken glass bottle thrown at her, they all settle into their new life and school. The hard life in Wales is detailed through the memories of the little girl who sees the poverty and learns about the hardship inflicted by the depression prior to the war, on this mining town. The risks of mining are also described through the chronic lung disease suffered by her uncle and the death of a young cousin in the coal mine. The joys of life for children are also expressed with the town arranging concerts staring the children, a picnic and other forms of entertainment. During the early part of the, the bombs do not reach Wales and the food shortages have not as yet bitten.

Throughout the war, Joyce’s family go between places of refuge, initially Wales, and their London home which they return to when her father is home on leave and intermittently while her mother is doing war work in London.

For the last part of the war, Joyce and her brothers become real evacuees are are sent to live with strangers away from London and the buzz bombs. This particular part of this memoir made me realise how fortunate my own mother was during her days growing up in the war. Her family never had to leave their home town of Bungay and were able to stay on their farm throughout the war.

I really enjoyed this memoir which reads like a conversation and tells of life for Joyce and her mother and siblings in Britain and also tells of some of her father’s experiences of the war in France, including the lead up to the evacuation of Dunkirk, through extracts of his diary and letters home. For people who are interested in World War II and particularly every day life for people during this terrible time, this is a wonderful and eye opening book.

Joy Lennick, Buy : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

 

My thanks to Joy for sharing her childhood memories and her publishing adventures. We would be delighted to receive your feedback and thank you for dropping in today.. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Memoir Joy Lennick, #WWII Paulette Mahurin, #Mystery J.A. Newman


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and the most recent. Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Books by Joy Lennick

A recent review for “My Gentle War”

Jan 05, 2020 Roberta Cheadle rated it Five Stars

My Gentle War is a delightful memoir about the life on a little girl, aged seven years old when war was declared in 1939, and her family as they navigated the changing landscape of everyday life in war time Britain. Joyce’s family lived a middle class life in Dagenham, London when the war started and her father and his brother, Bernard, signed up with the Royal Air Force to go and fight. Joyce’s parents decide that it will be safer for her mother, two younger brothers and herself to go and live with her family in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The book describes in great detail the difference between her father’s beautifully cultivated garden filled with gorgeous flowers in Dagenham and the wild and lonely beauty of life in the Welsh mountains. Her father’s sadness at having to ruin his garden by building a bomb shelter in the middle of it is the first insight the reader has of the changes that are going to come.

The second insight comes when the author describes the chaos of Paddington Station when her father leaves to go and fight in France and the rest of the family depart for Wales. It is not that easy for an evacuee to fit into life in a rural village, but Joyce and her brothers are young enough to do so without to many problems and, other than one incident when Joyce has a broken glass bottle thrown at her, they all settle into their new life and school. The hard life in Wales is detailed through the memories of the little girl who sees the poverty and learns about the hardship inflicted by the depression prior to the war, on this mining town. The risks of mining are also described through the chronic lung disease suffered by her uncle and the death of a young cousin in the coal mine. The joys of life for children are also expressed with the town arranging concerts staring the children, a picnic and other forms of entertainment. During the early part of the, the bombs do not reach Wales and the food shortages have not as yet bitten.

Throughout the war, Joyce’s family go between places of refuge, initially Wales, and their London home which they return to when her father is home on leave and intermittently while her mother is doing war work in London.

For the last part of the war, Joyce and her brothers become real evacuees are are sent to live with strangers away from London and the buzz bombs. This particular part of this memoir made me realise how fortunate my own mother was during her days growing up in the war. Her family never had to leave their home town of Bungay and were able to stay on their farm throughout the war.

I really enjoyed this memoir which reads like a conversation and tells of life for Joyce and her mother and siblings in Britain and also tells of some of her father’s experiences of the war in France, including the lead up to the evacuation of Dunkirk, through extracts of his diary and letters home. For people who are interested in World War II and particularly every day life for people during this terrible time, this is a wonderful and eye opening book.

Joy Lennick, Buy : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

Meet Paulette Mahurin

Paulette Mahurin is an international best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the bestseller lists for literary fiction and historical fiction on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in the summer of 2018 also to rave reviews.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

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One of the recent reviews for The Old Gilt Clock

Barely Audible 5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating historical figure  Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2020

Willem Arondeus was a fascinating historical figure, and one that you don’t hear of very often. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that the Dutch are left out of a lot of WWII stories in general, or maybe something more insidious like the fact that even eighty years later people still seem to have a problem with that fact that he was gay, but his is an important story all the same. Willem Arondeus was a man who took the pain of his life, someone who was persecuted for his sexuality, and used it to do whatever he could to stop the nazis from identifying Dutch Jews. He was someone extraordinary would did not have that goal in mind. He was just someone who wanted to do what was right. It’s stories like his that make me wonder what people like him would have been like if they’d been given a chance to live somewhere that he didn’t need to risk his life and be hated for who he was. To paraphrase, “Pity not the land that has no hero, pity the land that has need of a hero.”

Paulette Mahurin, buyAmazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Paulette  : Goodreads – Blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on WordPress –  Twitter: @MahurinPaulette

Meet J.A. Newman

J.A. Newman was born in Kent. As a young child she relied heavily on her imagination to amuse herself. At primary school she was repeatedly told off for daydreaming and at senior school she filled her rough note books with comic strip stories. On leaving school she enjoyed a career in hairdressing and owned her own business whilst living in Hertfordshire. In 2008 she retired to Cornwall with her husband where she found inspiration for much of her writing.

J.A.Newman has kept a diary for most of her life, the inspiration for her memoir titled ‘No One Comes Close’. This is an emotional roller-coaster set in 1966 and 1987, published in 2017.

Her second publication, published in 2018, ‘Where There’s a Will’, is a lighthearted tale of rags to riches.

And last but by no means least ,’Bay of Secrets’ is a haunting novel of intrigue, love and loss set in her favourite part of Cornwall.

She is currently researching for a historical novel set in the English Civil War.

Books by J.A. Newman

One of the reviews for Bay of Secrets

Dr. R. J. Westwell 4.0 out of 5 stars review of ‘Bay of Secrets’ by J.A. Newman  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 April 2020

This charming novel is a must for someone who wants to revel in the warmth of close family ties in Cornwall. The mystery of the death of Jayne’s father hovers over the family’s personal involvement with ‘Seawinds’, a property in Cornwall that is in an idyllic position overlooking the sea. As the plot progresses readers are bathed in the beauty of the surroundings as they follow the lives and loves of the family that is inextricably involved. Credible Cornish characters come into play as readers become absorbed in the story.

The mystery is finally resolved and we are given an understanding that time is no barrier where the love for the family and Cornwall are concerned.

J.A. Newman, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Blog: Julie Ann Newman WordPressTwitter: @julie3wwn

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed meeting more of the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and discovering their books. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Memoir ‘Fire!’ and separate tables! by Joy Lennick


Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post from regular contributor Joy Lennick. This week Joy shares more adventures from her time of running a hotel with her husband Eric…

‘Fire!’ and separate tables! – Or the everyday life of a hotelier…

We were still wondering about our quirky guest, nicknamed “Dr.Strangeglove,” but gradually life showed us a more mundane face, and as it was then winter, and a little more peaceful than usual, we had more time to update and renovate .

Fortunately my ‘Gordon Blue’ – who had been an excellent cabinet-maker in his time – capable of fitting out kitchens and bedrooms, etc., and a dab hand at DIY, decided, as he wasn’t ready, time-wise, to refit the kitchen then, would place a large “splash-back” behind the cooker and bought a panel of Formica (all the rage then) to temporarily fit the need.

Measurements were carefully made, and doors and window opened to dilute any aromas around. Our few paying guests were out and it was an ideal slot for the job. Or so we/he thought…

Carefully applying the necessary glue to one surface of the Formica, GB climbed on a small ladder, armed with said panel, leant over the stove when WHOOSH! The panel he was holding became a flaming shield…Fortunately, he acted with sensible speed, dropped it on the floor, and did what could only be described as a demented flamenco dance and put out the flames. HE HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE STOVE’S PILOT LIGHT!! WHOOPS… Luckily, he only singed a few hairs and had very mild burns on his hands, and I, being at the extreme end of the kitchen was OK but aghast at the scene which played out before me. You had to be there…

Assuring me he was ‘All right!’ my relief turned to despair as a million – no exaggeration – particles of burnt Formica formed a “black snow-storm” swirling around the dining-room. The beautiful snow-white spotted muslin curtains covering six windows (put up that morning) were covered in black blemishes, as were all the clothed tables (ready for dinner later!!).

Surprisingly, I didn’t cry as I realized time was of the essence as they say… Unbelievably, I was able to shake most of the black smuts off the curtains in the garden, so only had to replace a few fresh ones, luckily available! Luck was also on my side as we had recently bought ‘over-cloths’ made of a wipe-able material, soft to the touch, although slightly plasticised, which protected our white damask ones underneath. Of course, the vacuum had to be employed, the duster used vigorously and the kitchen floor washed, but all things considered, we managed OK. GB had thrust his hands in cold water and later smeared them in Vaseline. I shuddered. It could have been so much worse!!

We only had four guests for dinner that night, which was served, surprisingly, on time. Little did they know, as I smiled and made small-talk, of the drama which unfolded just a few hours earlier!

There followed a brief, fairly quiet interlude, until our new paying guest arrived that is…

Ms Groves approached me in the lounge: ‘I have a good friend called Mrs. Solomons and she’s looking for somewhere to stay for a few months before she goes to paint in the South of France. Have you a room available?’

I had, she inspected it; was happy with the terms and so, later, moved in, with a few other belongings and her clothes.

Mrs S, a widow, was a sweet, untidy but friendly lady, who always looked a little “un-ironed” and her hair-bun kept losing its clips. She was also a little unaware of the time, whereas Ms. Groves was a stickler for appearing and being ‘ON THE DOT!’ as she reminded me if we were ever late serving her afternoon tea… (with a little smile of course!) Anyway, you get the picture…

On Mrs S’s first day with us, I moved a slightly larger table in place, picked some flowers from our garden and made a small arrangement to greet her and called Ms. Groves to approve before she arrived. Well… she stepped back, her face like thunder and her hands started shaking.

‘I have never shared a table with anyone, ever!’ she declared, as if a crime had been committed. And so, with a shrug, I laid two tables and they conversed in loud voices for the duration of Mrs S’s stay.

I relayed the scene to GB and we said in unison ‘Shades of Separate Tables.’ (I wouldn’t have been surprised to see David Niven walk through the door… )

And so life continued, with Ms. Groves seated for dinner by six o’clock and Mrs. S always hurrying in at five or ten minutes past, while Ms. Groves frowned, tutted and visibly checked her watch.

It wasn’t long after Mrs. S’s arrival, that my father had a heart attack, and, as we were in Bournemouth and he in Essex, made hurried plans to visit him in hospital. We had no other guests booked in for two days, so laid a table in the dining room with kettle, toaster, various foodstuffs and a flask of stewed steak and vegetables, with fruit to follow. We only planned being away one night, and, thankfully, Dad hadn’t had a heart attack, but had pulled a muscle underneath his heart.

What a kerfuffle when we arrived back at the hotel… Ms. Groves burnt the toast at breakfast-time which set off the fire alarm… The Fire Brigade arrived and the Chief said we had been totally negligent leaving two elderly people alone in the hotel!! (Both fit as proverbial fiddles). Further, the Chief didn’t know that we had alerted the owner of the adjacent hotel that we had to leave for the night.

‘And,’ Ms. Groves informed us, pointing at several crumbs adorning the carpet between their two tables, ‘by the way, those crumbs are HERS!’

We went right off Ms. Groves after that!

©Joy Lennick 2019

About Joy Lennick

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

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

A recent reviews for My Gentle War

Jan 05, 2020 Roberta Cheadle rated it Five Stars

My Gentle War is a delightful memoir about the life on a little girl, aged seven years old when war was declared in 1939, and her family as they navigated the changing landscape of everyday life in war time Britain. Joyce’s family lived a middle class life in Dagenham, London when the war started and her father and his brother, Bernard, signed up with the Royal Air Force to go and fight. Joyce’s parents decide that it will be safer for her mother, two younger brothers and herself to go and live with her family in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The book describes in great detail the difference between her father’s beautifully cultivated garden filled with gorgeous flowers in Dagenham and the wild and lonely beauty of life in the Welsh mountains. Her father’s sadness at having to ruin his garden by building a bomb shelter in the middle of it is the first insight the reader has of the changes that are going to come.

The second insight comes when the author describes the chaos of Paddington Station when her father leaves to go and fight in France and the rest of the family depart for Wales. It is not that easy for an evacuee to fit into life in a rural village, but Joyce and her brothers are young enough to do so without to many problems and, other than one incident when Joyce has a broken glass bottle thrown at her, they all settle into their new life and school. The hard life in Wales is detailed through the memories of the little girl who sees the poverty and learns about the hardship inflicted by the depression prior to the war, on this mining town. The risks of mining are also described through the chronic lung disease suffered by her uncle and the death of a young cousin in the coal mine. The joys of life for children are also expressed with the town arranging concerts staring the children, a picnic and other forms of entertainment. During the early part of the, the bombs do not reach Wales and the food shortages have not as yet bitten.

Throughout the war, Joyce’s family go between places of refuge, initially Wales, and their London home which they return to when her father is home on leave and intermittently while her mother is doing war work in London.

For the last part of the war, Joyce and her brothers become real evacuees are are sent to live with strangers away from London and the buzz bombs. This particular part of this memoir made me realise how fortunate my own mother was during her days growing up in the war. Her family never had to leave their home town of Bungay and were able to stay on their farm throughout the war.

I really enjoyed this memoir which reads like a conversation and tells of life for Joyce and her mother and siblings in Britain and also tells of some of her father’s experiences of the war in France, including the lead up to the evacuation of Dunkirk, through extracts of his diary and letters home. For people who are interested in World War II and particularly every day life for people during this terrible time, this is a wonderful and eye opening book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on : Goodreads

Connect to Joy

Blog: Joy Lennick WordPress
Facebook: Joy Lennick

My thanks to Joy for sharing another entertaining episode of the joys of running  small hotel and I know she would love to hear from you… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Memoir Joy Lennick, #Memoir Marian Longenecker Beaman, #YAFantasy Jean Lee


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

The first author is frequent contributor to the blog, Joy Lennick with a lovely review for her memoir My Gentle War: Memoir of an Essex Girl

About the book

The affection Joy Lennick nee Mansfield felt and feels for Wales is immediately evident in this charming memoir. Separated in World War II from her parents – with her father serving in the Royal Air Force abroad and her mother working in munitions – she finds herself living on a mountain with her two brothers. It is
a world away from the cosy environment of her home in Dagenham, Essex.

Her story evokes the magic of childhood, from the discovery of nature’s minute miracles to the joy of using our five senses to the full. Joyce meets kindness and curiosity, as well as hostility…and discovers a valuable wealth of new experiences, not least the world of ‘dance’. While bombs are raining on her home town, she is sliding down a Welsh slag-tip on a piece of lino and alternately appearing in ‘Mother Goose’ in Merthyr Tydfil’s main theatre. Learning that humour is the cement of survival, she also learns to cope with constant change and occasional heartache.

And when at last the war ends, she discovers the meaning of unreigned happiness. Joy salutes all the kind people who took in and cared for evacuees at a great time of need.

A recent review for the book

Jan 05, 2020 Roberta Cheadle rated it Five Stars

My Gentle War is a delightful memoir about the life on a little girl, aged seven years old when war was declared in 1939, and her family as they navigated the changing landscape of everyday life in war time Britain. Joyce’s family lived a middle class life in Dagenham, London when the war started and her father and his brother, Bernard, signed up with the Royal Air Force to go and fight. Joyce’s parents decide that it will be safer for her mother, two younger brothers and herself to go and live with her family in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The book describes in great detail the difference between her father’s beautifully cultivated garden filled with gorgeous flowers in Dagenham and the wild and lonely beauty of life in the Welsh mountains. Her father’s sadness at having to ruin his garden by building a bomb shelter in the middle of it is the first insight the reader has of the changes that are going to come.

The second insight comes when the author describes the chaos of Paddington Station when her father leaves to go and fight in France and the rest of the family depart for Wales. It is not that easy for an evacuee to fit into life in a rural village, but Joyce and her brothers are young enough to do so without to many problems and, other than one incident when Joyce has a broken glass bottle thrown at her, they all settle into their new life and school. The hard life in Wales is detailed through the memories of the little girl who sees the poverty and learns about the hardship inflicted by the depression prior to the war, on this mining town. The risks of mining are also described through the chronic lung disease suffered by her uncle and the death of a young cousin in the coal mine. The joys of life for children are also expressed with the town arranging concerts staring the children, a picnic and other forms of entertainment. During the early part of the, the bombs do not reach Wales and the food shortages have not as yet bitten.

Throughout the war, Joyce’s family go between places of refuge, initially Wales, and their London home which they return to when her father is home on leave and intermittently while her mother is doing war work in London.

For the last part of the war, Joyce and her brothers become real evacuees are are sent to live with strangers away from London and the buzz bombs. This particular part of this memoir made me realise how fortunate my own mother was during her days growing up in the war. Her family never had to leave their home town of Bungay and were able to stay on their farm throughout the war.

I really enjoyed this memoir which reads like a conversation and tells of life for Joyce and her mother and siblings in Britain and also tells of some of her father’s experiences of the war in France, including the lead up to the evacuation of Dunkirk, through extracts of his diary and letters home. For people who are interested in World War II and particularly every day life for people during this terrible time, this is a wonderful and eye opening book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on : Goodreads

Connect to Joy via her blog: Joy Lennick at WordPress

The next author with a recent review is Marian Longenecker Beaman for Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl.

About the book

What if the Mennonite life young Marian Longenecker chafed against offered the chance for a new beginning? What if her two Lancaster County homes with three generations of family were the perfect launch pad for a brighter future? Readers who long for a simpler life can smell the aroma of saffron-infused potpie in Grandma’s kitchen, hear the strains of four-part a capella music at church, and see the miracle of a divine healing.

Follow the author in pigtails as a child and later with a prayer cap, bucking a heavy-handed father and challenging church rules. Feel the terror of being locked behind a cellar door. Observe the horror of feeling defenseless before a conclave of bishops, an event propelling her into a different world.

Fans of coming-of-age stories will delight in one woman’s surprising path toward self-discovery, a self that lets her revel in shiny red shoes.

One of the recent reviews for the memoir

Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl is a wonderful and engaging read. I learned a great deal about the Mennonite way of life: the culture, the dress, the history, and the occasional conflict as Marian Beaman experienced it and so beautifully shares it. I especially enjoyed Marian’s honest description of her home life, including her clashes with her father. It’s brave to put that out there for the world to see; good for you, Marian!

Marian’s clear writing style brought to life her immediate family, her relatives, the Mennonite culture, the mouth- watering food, and the hard work that kept her family fed, clothed, and healthy. This was a life so very different from mine; I found myself envying parts of it while wondering how these folks still exist in our modern world. It’s amazing!

As I read the book, I came to admire Marian so very much; she was strong enough to stand up for herself in her home, in the Mennonite culture, and, eventually, in the outside world. The photographs and illustrations are lovely, and I will be using the recipes for special occasions.

Read this unique book, and enjoy your visit to a thought-provoking culture in a world that is close-by, but still far away.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Marian on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Marian via her blog: Marian Beaman.

And the final review today is for Jean Lee for Fallen Princeborn: Stolen a YA Fantasy Novel.

About Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

Over the Wall, they came to hunt humans. But now, a human’s going to hunt them. This girl’s nobody’s prey.

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shapeshifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Dec 03, 2019 Bunnerbooky rated it Five Stars

I have NO idea where to begin. Oh well, let’s start from the characters.

I LOVED THEM. Seriously, these characters are the kind I absolutely fall for. I’d been having a hard time finding books that had characters talking all primordially without the book being written in my, what, grandma’s time? I don’t think there are many books that have ancient characters that talk all anciently, in the modern world, anymore, which is why I absolutely relished every bit of the story and its characters. Charlotte is from the 21st Century, but the male protagonist, Liam, is certainly not. Which leads to the point that there is, in fact, a really cool male protagonist in the story who is immortal and therefore young but ancient, and I don’t think you might’ve derived that from my synopsis above. Pardon – Liam and Charlotte are the most adorable pair I’ve liked in a hell lot of while.

The thing that I loved the most, after the writing style and Liam and Charlie, of course, is the place where this book takes you. For a debut novel, I’d say this book has a really grand, aesthetically and proportionally described place of tale. River Vine is the fantasy land where the ‘velidevour’ dwell and all the events arise – and I wish I could live there for the rest of my life. And the way the author has chosen to describe it – I wish I wasn’t so damn jealous. Really. You wouldn’t think the novel is a debut – that’s how much gripping and vibrant and colorful the writing is.

Inspired me like the inspirational dream of a book this is!

If you’re a human being who loves color and life and green and flowers, (and perhaps creepy dream-drinkers/human-slayers too) I ask you: do you know how much you’re missing if you haven’t yet read this book? A TON. You shouldn’t wait for a second more, my friend!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Also by Jean Lee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

You can find more reviews and follow Jean Lee on: Goodreads

Connect to Jean via her website: Jean Lee’s World