Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Shortstories Sarah Brentyn, #Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Mystery Diana J. Febry, #Memoir Cynthia S. Reyes, #Shortstories Leon Stevens

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

If you enjoy flash fiction then this book by Sarah Brentyn is one to check out. On the Edge of a Raindrop.

About the collection

When You’re on the Edge, It’s Easy to Fall

These are stories of lives on the edge.

A girl tortured by the world within her. A boy powerless to escape his home. A mother doomed to live with her greatest mistake. A man lost in a maze of grief.

Each raindrop provides a microscopic mirror of ourselves and those around us. But we can’t always trust what we see. The distorted images disorient the mind, altering our view of reality.

This second collection of flash and micro fiction explores the depths of the human condition and the fragile surface of our perceptions.

Dive into these tales of darkness and discover what life is like On the Edge of a Raindrop

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

One of the reviews for the collection on Goodreads.

GraemeCumming 5.0 out of 5 stars Savour each morsel… Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 July 2020

It’s fair to say that I like my fiction with a bit of depth. I don’t mean War and Peace kind of depth, but I like a good yarn with layers, ideally a few twists, and characters that feel real, even when they’re a little larger than life. And yet I like short stories, and I always admire a writer who can produce an effective one.

I’m even more impressed, then, when I read flash fiction. At least, I am when it’s well written. As I understand it – and I’m no expert in these matters – flash fiction can be anything from a few words to a few hundred, so it can be very difficult to convey much in the way of a story with so little to play with. Very often, flashes will be suggestive rather than explicit.

Sometimes, they get across a state of mind or being rather than a whole story. Whichever route is taken, for that writing to stir something in the reader – for example, senses of loss, fear or exhilaration – means the author has done their job.

Probably the most famous flash fiction reads: ‘For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.’ Attributed to Hemmingway, though there are some doubters, this conveys so much and is a masterpiece of the genre.

Frankly, Sarah Brentyn’s work easily stands alongside this. Her ability to capture the essence of an emotion or a moment in so few words is staggering. In a single line, she can encapsulate something that many authors would struggle to do in several pages.

Like her first book, Hinting at Shadows, this is a book to savour and not rush. When you’re confronted with stories or essays that cover only a page or even a few lines, the temptation is to read one then leap on to the next. Don’t. Read one and reflect on it. The whole book is only 48 pages long, but what it contains is volumes and it should be read as if that’s the case.
Take your time. Savour each morsel as it’s fed to you. It’ll be more satisfying than you can imagine.

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

Also by Sarah Brentyn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And on: Amazon UK – Follow Sarah: Goodreads – Sarah: Blog – Twitter: @SarahBrentyn

Something for the lovers of psychological thrillers.. A Year in the Life of  Deidre Flynn – by Lucinda E. Clarke

About the book

Deidre is determined to protect her adopted niece Leah, but despite fleeing the country, the menacing threats continue.

They believe their enemies can’t reach them now, so who is behind the life-threatening attacks? The incidents escalate, each more horrifying than the last.

How can they fight back when they don’t know who the enemy is and they have no idea what they want.

A fast-moving, page-turning, psychological thriller that will leave you breathless, as once again, Leah is the victim of a cruel conspiracy that lurks in the shadows.

A gripping thriller for fans of Louise Jensen, Avery Bishop and Claire McGowan.

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

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Oct 06, 2020 Susan Wüthrich rated it Five Stars it was amazing

Another great read from Lucinda.

Leah and teenage Belinda have moved to the South of France taking with them some very inflammatory material belonging to Leah’s ex, Mason, who’s still in the UK languishing at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Soon after, they are joined by Leah’s elderly Aunt Deidre, and Belinda begins home tutoring with the very stern Madame du Pont and her child prodigy, Sophie from the nearby chateau.
After they are introduced to some dubious British neighbours, strange and frightening things start to happen. And when things begin careering out of control Leah and Deidre struggle to maintain a semblance of normality.

This is the third book in the series A Year in the Life of…and having read the previous two, I have to say I enjoyed this one the most. A gripping mystery/thriller with a great story line and a group of dodgy characters made it an absolute winner for me. 

A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the books Amazon US –  And : Amazon UK – Blog:WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke — Follow Lucinda:GoodreadsTwitter: @LucindaEClarke

The next books with a recent review is Fiery End (A DI Fiona Williams Mystery) by Diana J. Febry was released in October 2020.

About the book

Driving home late at night, DI Fiona Williams comes across a vehicle engulfed in flames. The driver is at the wheel, oblivious to the inferno surrounding him.

There is no explanation for why the vehicle was on the road or why the quiet tradesman was murdered in such a macabre way. The only witness to the fire, claims she saw nothing.

Whatever she did see goes to the grave with her when she is brutally strangled. Frustration grows when the driver’s daughter disappears.

With time running out to find the daughter alive, Fiona is drawn into a web of powerful men determined to keep their deadly games secret. Juggling a family crisis and a growing suspicion her boss is corrupt, her judgement is hampered by her attraction to the man central to everything.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Valmarp 5.0 out of 5 stars Totally riveting  Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2020

I’m a big fan of the Peter Hatherall and Fiona Williams books, so I was very pleased to see this new addition to the series. Even though the story focuses more on Fiona, it was great to be reacquainted with all the characters in this roller-coaster ride of a mystery. The storyline begins with the two DIs coming across a burning camper van on a dark road and from there on, both the mystery and the suspects escalate. The plot involves deliberate and not so deliberate red herrings. It also involves vice rings, computer puzzles and apps. There are too many victims and loads of culprits but the puzzle is such that Fiona and her partner cannot fathom who is behind the sinister crimes until close to the explosive end of the book. What a page turner this turned out to be. I could barely put it down. This is also the closest Fiona has come to real romance, which in itself made it special. Well done, Diana Febry. A Fiery End was a terrific read and I hope Fiona and Peter will be back before too long.

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

A selection of other books by Diana Febry

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon UK- And Amazon US – follow Diana on:Goodreads  – Facebook page: Diana J. Febry – Twitter: @DianaJFebry

And the next author today with a recent review is Cynthia Reyes, for her gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mary Clark 5.0 out of 5 stars Garden Lessons of Life  Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2020

This is the third in a series, beginning with A Good Home and An Honest House. In this small volume, she wades into the thicket of memory to expose the hardy growth hidden in a fast-paced life. A life halted by a serious car accident, bringing years of debilitating pain and the psychological effects of trauma. Besides the loss of her career, she found she could not do many ordinary things. Gardening and entertaining her family and friends were no longer possible. Home and garden, important threads in her life, were gone. And she was used to being active.

“By my early thirties, I was that rare thing in network television: a young, Black, immigrant woman who was also an executive producer and rising star.”

Years of success led to starting a consultant company with her husband. They bought a new home, an old farmhouse with garden areas, which she looked forward to rejuvenating. Then, the accident, and everything changed.

“If gardening helped keep me sane, it stands to reason that not being able to garden helped drive me crazy.”

As she struggles with her disabilities, her kindness of spirit comes through. Empathetic and perceptive, she finds other ways to make connections and be useful. One of them is writing. She tells stories of people who shared her love of gardens and from whom she learned life lessons.

Years before she had volunteered to care for an older couple’s “secret garden” behind their home. She learned of the couple’s history but refrained from building a friendship so they would not feel obliged to invite her into their house. In time, they did, asking her and her husband for supper. Their backgrounds were quite different, but what they had in common was gardening. “Our conversation started there, thick with talk of moles and cutworms, roses and delphiniums.” But that evening they also shared their life stories and became friends.

She weaves the story of another black immigrant into the narrative. Donald Moore had a lead role in changing Canada’s immigration laws in 1954. He was also a gardener with a greenhouse attached to his home in Toronto. His perennial garden won horticultural awards. He shared his knowledge with Cynthia. One day, she saw a group of small pots and asked what he was growing. Maples, he said. And acknowledged he would not live to see them mature, but someone else would. He gave her a tiny boxwood plant and when she wondered how many years it would take to become a real shrub, he said, “All you need is patience.” She planted it in her garden, and when they moved, she dug it up and took it with her. Every time she saw it, she thought of Mr. Moore and his lesson about patience.

From these lessons, she learned “a slow wisdom.” I recommend reading the first two books before this one. However, it stands on its own as well.

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

Also by Cynthia Reyes

Read the reviews and buy the books – Amazon US – And  : Amazon UK – Follow Cynthia : Goodreads – Website:Cynthia Reyes – Twitter: @CynthiaSReyes

The final author today with a recent review is Leon Stevens. The Knot At The End Of The Rope.

About the collection

A journey to the center of the universe …
Humanity’s final days …
A strange midnight visitor …
A faster than light test with unforeseen results …
Writings found in a desolate world …

These are some of the short stories in this collection, written in the style of the early science fiction writers when imagination trumped scientific knowledge. In addition, some short post-apocalyptic tales and poems are included in this new book by Leon Stevens.

One of the early reviews for the collection

Dec 09, 2020 Catherine Pratt rated it Five Stars it was amazing

I really liked the book. Short stories and poems, what better combo than that. The stories had a little bit of fun in them. Some were funny, some were really weird. Poems in the book were great. Poems were my favorite part of the book even though there were only a few. If you are into short stories then this book is for you. I had a lot of fun reading it and making me think.

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

Also by Leon Stevens

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Leon: GoodreadsWebsite: Lines by Leon Twitter: @linesbyleon


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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Memoir Brigid P. Gallagher , #Sci-fi Richard Dee, #Mystery Diana J. Febry

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

The first book to receive a recent review is the memoir by Brigid P. Gallagher that shares her experiences and also strategies to overcome chronic illness in Watching for the Daisies.

About the book

Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.

In this memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:

  • The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease
  • Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms
  • Entering a new life of SLOW

Drawing on her knowledge and experience as a Natural Medicines therapist, she seeks out therapies to aid her healing and integrates a variety of self help techniques and lifestyle changes. She also unearths a love of solo travel including Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Bali…

Brigid learns many insights about LIFE on her journey, the most valuable being: “First learn to love thyself.”

In 2006, she began a new career in Organic Horticulture eventually teaching part time in schools. Although she has now retired from teaching, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening and watching the daisies.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Sep 18, 2020 Ronald Mackay rated it Five Star it was amazing

Watching the Daisies is a very personal account of how the author, Brigid Gallagher, brings herself, her work and all the rest of her busy life under control to the point where she is able to more fully appreciate the day and the hour – the ‘now’ of her existence.

Her elegant, straight-forward prose carries the reader through a mostly happy existence from her early life in rural Scotland to her varied professional work in Edinburgh and eventually to her more restful and more centred life in the Ireland that her mother and father left seeking opportunities in Scotland.

Readers who are unfamiliar, as I was, with the less traditional (at least for the British Isles and Ireland) approaches to spiritual and physical well-being will find much to gain from Watching the Daisies. Brigid not only explores many of them but becomes a practising professional with a flair for leadership, innovation and success.

Although plagued by a chronic and sometimes debilitating illness, this is a happy book written by a happy person who at all times is able to take as much or more control of her life than many of us in order to come to a most satisfactory peace with herself.

As inspiring as the story Brigid Gallagher has to tell are the life lessons that she draws from each chapter of her life. Any reader will benefit greatly from reading this busy yet peaceful, analytic yet satisfyingly holistic memoir.

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

Brigid P. Gallagher, Buy: Amazon UK – andAmazon US – Follow Brigid on : Goodreads –  Blog: Watching the Daisies – Twitter: @watchingthedai1

The next author with a recent review is Richard Dee for his latest book The Hitman and the Thief.

About the book

Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.

Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.

Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.

To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.

Can the hitman and the thief get the job done, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lecari  4.0 out of 5 stars A well-written, fast-paced sci-fi thriller with great characters  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 September 2020

In The Hitman and The Thief, Dan Jones is a ‘problem solver’ for his boss, Fliss, on the planet Gallix. He is sent to remove her rival, Kalindra — but the job all goes wrong when he (literally) bumps into Lydia, a thief. He and Lydia manage to escape capture. But, to redeem himself, Fliss orders him to try again, with Lydia as a partner. They must work together to remove Kalindra, once and for all.

Right from the very start, you are thrown straight into the action! From there, The Hitman and The Thief is a fast-paced sci-fi story which sucked me in immediately.

The main character, Dan Jones, is a bit of an anti-hero. He works as an assassin for the local crime lord, Fliss, solving problems where needed. He is currently seeing her right-hand woman, Hesta, who is young, smart and beautiful. We learn about his childhood and time in the military, which gives an insight into how he ended up in his current line of work. He is a very likeable character — he is smart and loyal.

There are lots of strong female characters throughout the book, which I really liked! As well as Fliss and Hesta, who we learn a bit about at the start of the book, the other main character is Lydia, the thief. At first she travels under lock and key, but over time they begin to trust each other and she becomes his friend. Lydia is very smart and fiesty — and again, despite her profession, I liked her as a character too.

The story has an interesting premise and some great world-building which kept me engaged throughout. I found the planet of Fallop very interesting. It’s described as “resource-poor, relying on cheap labour and unhealthy practices to process the raw materials and wastes that no one else would touch. It made her money, wrecked a lot of lives and the inhabitants on Fallop were treated slightly worse than animals.” As Lydia points out, other planets allowed this to happen for a reason, despite the cruelty — they enjoy the benefits and don’t want to have to deal with the factories themselves. Lydia and Dan’s discussion about the planet was interesting and something often reflected in our present day.

The Hitman and The Thief is a well-written sci-fi thriller with a fast-paced storyline. It has some interesting world-building, and I really enjoyed its female-centric cast. It was a great read that I absorbed within a couple of hours!

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

A small selection of other books by Richard Dee

Richard Dee, buy: Amazon US And: Amazon UKWebsite: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1

The final author today is Diana J. Febry with a recent review for Trouble at Fatting House

About the book

A stand-alone Chapman and Morris Mystery.

Simon and Kate land the perfect house-sitting job in a quirky, old farmhouse.
But, when the neighbours are murdered, they discover the house has a sinister past connected to an identical killing. Following another attack, Simon disappears, and the police uncover disturbing secrets about his past.

Compelling evidence against Simon mounts, leaving Kate alone, unsure what to believe or who to trust. Is Simon the killer? Or a pawn in somebody else’s game?

As Kate closes in on the truth, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 27, 2020 Audrey Driscoll rated it really liked it –Recommends it for: Anyone who likes cozy mysteries.

This second book in the Chapman and Morris Mysteries series dives right into the action with distrust between Kate and Simon, the two main characters, followed quickly by a double murder. As house-sitters, the pair must attend to the care and feeding of a number of animals. Kate is at first largely concerned with those responsibilities, while Simon indulges his curiosity about long-held enmities in the neighbourhood and rumours of buried treasure.

Once the murders have been discovered, the action shifts into high gear, with Kate and Simon dealing with different issues that lead to miscommunication and errors that invite disaster. I have to admit I was only partially right about the identity of the murderer, but that was okay. The author furnishes enough details and supporting characters to give readers material from which to create their own red herrings. Each chapter begins with a cryptic statement by… someone, furnishing more details for the reader to think about.

The point of view is largely Simon’s but shifts at times to that of the detective leading the investigation and also to Kate. The transitions are handled well and don’t cause confusion, although I assumed at first this was Simon’s book, as it were, and was a bit surprised to see things as the professionals did. Given Simon’s ambition to be a private investigator, this provided an extra dimension to the story.

The relationship between Simon and Kate is tested as the murder investigation unfolds and complications arise. Simon’s dogs, Albert and Alfred, have a bigger role here than in the first book. Some issues remain unresolved at the end, which suggests there may be a third Chapman and Morris book in the future. Altogether, I found this textured and twisty mystery to be a satisfying read and an entertaining diversion.

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

A selection of other books by Diana Febry

Diana J. Febry, Buy: Amazon UK- And Amazon US – follow Diana on:Goodreads  –Facebook page: Diana J. Febry


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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Fantasy A.J. Alexander, #YARomance Angie Dokos, #Mystery Diana J. Febry

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

The first review is for Demon Tracker: 3rd book in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series by A.J. Alexander 

About the book

Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her.

She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?

One of the early reviews for the book

Allan Krummenacker 5.0 out of 5 stars This Universe Continues to Grow With Each Book… Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2020

In this third installment of the Council of Twelve series, the author throws us a curveball of sorts as she introduces not only a new character, but a whole new angle on the mythology of this series. It’s interesting to watch how the author is taking the over-arcing story of the series a step further with each new character introduced.

This time we get to meet a demon tracker, one of the best ever. However, her appearance could easily be mistaken for someone demonic herself, which is of course not the case. Besides those great horns on her head, what else is making her a target of the master of Hell. What is his connection to her and why is he so interested in asking questions about her parentage?

All our old friends are here such as the Council of Twelve, along with Sundance and Kate from the previous installments of the series. As well as some familiar foes and new dangers.

A jolly good read, which I highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Also by A.J. Alexander

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK 

Connect to A.J. Alexander via her website: Aurora Jean Alexander

The next author is Angie Dokos with a recent review for Roadside

About the book

Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love?

One of the recent reviews for the book

L. Carmichael 5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Hopeful, Tender  Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2020

Roadside is a contemporary fiction / young adult / romance novel by author Angie Dokos. I’ve previously read another of her books, and when I saw she was doing some marketing for an upcoming tour of this one, I decided to move up the book in my reading queue.

Zayne, a ~20ish college student, finds the almost dead body of a young girl on the roadside with his dad. They take her to the hospital, and Zayne keeps returning to check on her. He feels a weird connection. When she wakes up, he learns her name is Serena. She was attacked and had been unconscious for days. She remembers a lot of details, and Zayne’s father does the investigating with the police to find her assailant. Clues remain in the forest by the roadside, but ultimately, this is a story about the aftermath, how to trust someone you’ve just met, and recovery.

Dokos creates memorable characters. This is a very simple, sweet, and touching story. There is complexity in the plot and relationships, but the writing is casual, easy to read, connective, and makes you feel warm and cozy, even in the scary parts. There’s a balance of light and darkness, given the subject matter, and in the end, you 100% root for Zayne and Serena to fall in love. But there’s a supporting cast you also find yourself keen to get to know. Best friends, siblings, parents, school administrators and staff… everyone plays a pivotal role. Just who did attack Serena and why?

We learn the truth midway through the book, and the remainder is about dealing with the recovery and results of trusting someone you shouldn’t. How can you assign blame and fix the problem when the problem occurred so long ago, you feel bad for the assailant too? Okay, just a little, as (s)he did try to rape and kill Serena. No matter the circumstances, the person needs to be punished.

I enjoy Dokos’ writing style, and she makes you flip the pages quickly to keep investing in the story. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Angie Dokos

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos: Goodreads

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: Angie Dokos WordPress

The final author today is Diana J. Febry with a recent review for Trouble at Clenchers Mill

About the book

Somebody wants Richard Fielding dead.

Richard was looking forward to making a fresh start with his new wife, Alicia when they moved into Clenchers Mill. Then the attacks started.

Detained in the hospital after an unusual accident, he dismisses the claim his new wife is trying to harm him. He’s convinced the property attacks are the childish pranks of locals annoyed by his plans for Clenchers Mill. As a successful property developer, he’s seen it all before. Mindful of Alicia’s reluctance to involve the police he instructs Kate and Simon to make discreet inquiries.

Kate and Simon are keen to find the culprit, but are inexperienced and blissfully unaware they are dealing with a determined killer toying with their prey before they strike. Their first case may prove to be their last.

One of the recent reviews for Trouble at Clenchers Mill

Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2020

When Richard Fielding is almost killed in a riding accident, his new wife is quick to blame the person who gave him the horse–his ex-wife, Cynthia. Convinced that the horse was drugged, Cynthia hires Kate Chapman to investigate. Kate asks her good friend and landlord, Simon Morris to assist her. When Kate confirms the horse was drugged, they must figure out who wants Richard dead and why. Their investigation reveals a slew of potential suspects from local pro-hunting advocates to those with more sinister intentions. But who is the culprit and will they succeed next time?

This is a very fun and enjoyable mystery. Kate is a blue collar girl while Simon is from a more privileged background and it provides some good conflict. The have’s and have not’s are clearly one of the themes. Though Simon makes his interest in Kate clear by the middle of the book, there wasn’t enough foreshadowing for me. The twists and turns are good and the reveal makes sense. Good job overall. I’m looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Diana J. Febry

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on: Amazon US

Read many more reviews and follow Diana on: Goodreads

Connect to Diana via her Facebook page: Diana J. Febry

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Fantasy Julia Benally, #Drama Deborah A. Bowman, #Mystery Diana J. Febry, #EpicAdventure Jacqui Murray

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.


The first author with a recent review is Julia Benally for the fantasy novel Pariahs (Ilinga Book I)Julia is also a contributor to several anthologies that are available on her Amazon Author Page.

About Pariahs (Ilings Book 1)

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

“Pariahs” (Ilings, Book 1) is not for every reader. But in my opinion, this madcap adventure, fantasy, horror story has the makings of a cult classic. There are people in this world who will absolutely love it. Perhaps you are one of them. Of course, there are probably others who will hate it, and still others will stumble away from it dazed, wondering what just happened to them. But no one will read this book and walk away without a powerful emotional reaction to it.In “Pariahs,” Julia Benally has created an insanely complex world with fourteen sentient races (seven big ones and seven little ones) and an insanely complex system of magic, and she has created an insanely complex plot that races along at about a hundred miles per hour. Almost nothing in the world of Ila bears the remotest resemblance to anything on earth. Sentient beings might have tails or scales or poison fangs or hair up to their knees or some combination of the above, but they all call themselves human beings. And then in the middle of all of it is one pretty little six-year-old girl in a cream-colored dress with short, puffy sleeves.

By the time I was a couple of chapters into “Pariahs,” I thought the whole book was meant to be a joke — a comedy. After a few more chapters, I realized that it was not a joke, but I wasn’t sure what it was. A few more chapters in, and I was totally bewildered. Then I found the glossary (Hooray!), which explained a lot and helped me understand what was going on. Don’t wait as long as I did to find the glossary. By the time I got to the last chapter, I didn’t want it to end.

The plot is extremely complex and travels at breakneck speed. There’s a new nightmarish horror around almost every corner, with monster bosses that just keep coming back. But in the middle of the horror and danger, the little “family” of Vijeren, N’Nar, Sibare, little Miranel, and Zhin are able to find courage in the face of danger, faith to keep on striving, love for their family, hope for their future, and even joy in the almost spiritual ties that bind them together.

Altogether, “Pariahs” was a unique and most remarkable work.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Read the reviews and follow Julia : Goodreads

Connect to Julia via her blog: Sparrow Incarnate

The next author with a selection of non-fiction, paranormal and family drama novels that would make great gifts is  Deborah A. Bowman, and the featured book is Living in a Shadow

About the book

Living in a Shadow is a must-read fictional drama with a powerful message for women of all ages, any man who has ever loved a woman, and any partner, regardless of gender, who has ever loved a victim, especially the unheard, unknown, uncomforted victims.

Sometimes the dreams we want most out of life are mere illusions, shadows in the mist.
Fantasy and Desire: Is it Love or Lust? Truth, Reality, and Perception: Is it Fact or Fiction?

Not that it matters. But, of course, you must have the ability to make these choices.
It’s not the book, any book, but what you personally take away from the book, embracing the experiences as if they were your own to enable you to select the best choices for your life course.

But what do you do, how do you cope, when choices are taken away from you? These are the shadows in all of our lives.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Living in a Shadow is the story of Marcy and Rich, told from the perspectives of the two characters as they chronicle the collapse of their marriage. The writing is riveting. It draws the reader into their personal world by sharing their thoughts and feelings.

The author chose to switch between Marcy and Rich’s mindset, which gave a certain intimacy to the novel, which kept me keyed into the story. At times, I felt as if I was eavesdropping, the dialogue was so realistic.

Love, relationships, trust, and misunderstandings are many of the themes. I especially enjoyed the aspects of the illusionary shadow mentioned in the title and how that theme flowed through the novel.

Everyone has a dark side. I believe Bowman successfully tapped into the shadow archetype revealing the part of the personality called the “Self,” showing all, and more in her characters. You know what I mean… that part that we don’t like about ourselves and the things we subconsciously deny as we project those things on to others? Bowman bares it all! These characters are so real; I felt like I knew them.

This was a hard book to put down, and I found myself propelled through a whirlwind of emotions.

Be prepared because the ending was unexpected. I never saw it coming!

Also by Deborah Bowman

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Deborah on : Goodreads

Connect with Deborah via her blog: Bowman Author

If you enjoy murder mysteries then this next book and also the rest of the Detective Pete Hatherall will be just the gifts for you… written by Diana J. Febry here is a recent review for The Paper Boy.

About the book

A stand-alone murder mystery featuring DCI Peter Hatherall.  A young mother brutally stabbed in a busy park in front of her son. A paperboy shot in an isolated farmhouse twenty-four years previously. DI Fiona Williams is baffled when her senior officer, DCI Peter Hatherall makes a connection between the two cases.
As details of Hatherall’s involvement in the old case emerge, her loyalty is tested to breaking point and she starts to question his decisions. When the murdered woman’s son goes missing the time for hesitating is over.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Beverley Peters 4.0 out of 5 stars Sunshine Reading. October 20, 2019

When it comes to murder mysteries this book fits the bill for me. I love nothing but to relax with a good mystery. What i call – sunshine TV style novels. The story is easy and refreshing to follow without losing the intrigue along the journey.

I found myself trying to solve the puzzle of a -who dunnit.

Great detective story involving two cases one of which was shoddily managed 20 yrs ago and a recent murder case which ties the two together.

This well researched and steadily paced story was a great read . DCI Peter Hatherall is engaging and a genius and i recommend this book for fans of murder mystery

A selection of other books by Diana J. Febry

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on: Amazon US

Read many more reviews and follow Diana on: Goodreads

Connect to Diana via her Facebook page: Diana J. Febry

And now time to catch up with the early humans in the The Crossroads Trilogy and the second book in the seriesThe Quest for Home by Jacqui Murray.  I have read both books in the trilogy and can highly recommend to lovers of epic adventure novels in a wonderfully researched ancient world.

About The Quest for Home

Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

Bravo Jacqui! A fine read and meticulous research.” — Sue Harrison, author of the acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy,

Xhosa flees what she had hoped would be her new home after being attacked by invaders from the North. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands of what we now call Europe. As she struggles to overcome strangers around her and disruptions within her People, Xhosa faces the reality that her most dangerous enemy may not be the one she expected. It may be one she has trusted with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man spreads across Eurasia. Xhosa must regularly does the impossible which is good because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

A recent review for the book

What a way to start a sequel! We pick up right where the first book leaves off, and the author is thorough and detailed with providing the necessary information a new reader might need in order to understand what is happening.

Give me a strong, brave, and compassionate female protagonist any day of the week, and I’m your reader. Author Jacqui Murray does not disappoint. Xhosa, our heroine, is determined to lead her tribe to safety in this prehistoric world. She is up against competition within her own tribe as well as from other tribes. Murray has clearly done her research. We learn interesting details and information about medicinal uses for plants, relationships, language, survival, and it is written with credibility, drama, intrigue, and passion.
The story follows several perspectives of well-rounded characters so that we see the quest from a few angles, and we soon become entrenched in their individual goals and motivations. The setting and descriptions are richly detailed, and the writing is consistently strong.

I highly recommend “The Quest for Home” to anyone who enjoys prehistoric adventures and stories led by compelling characters.

A selection of other books by Jacqui Murray

Read all the reviews and buy the books:   Amazon Author Page US

And: Amazon UK

 Read more reviews and follow Jacqui: goodreads

Connect to Jacqui via her Blog: Worddreams

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